Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Movement at Last in EU?

Angela Merkel is reportedly open to Macron's suggestion that what the EU needs is a common budget and finance minister. The details matter, of course, but this would mark a huge step forward and give Macron the early success he needs to keep his momentum going. Meanwhile, the Times reports that Laurent Berger is actively seeking compromise with Macron on labor-market reform. One is tempted to reply, What else is new? The CFDT is always ready for compromise. Still, it's another positive sign. As I wrote in my Foreign Affairs piece, the atmosphere has changed. There's a readiness to experiment that has been absent for a while. Pourvu que ça dure.

3 comments:

Marta Varela said...

A United States of Europemay ultimately undermine Jacobinism in France--and that could give new vigor to France beyond Paris. A common budget minister, and finance minister is the only way common policies will be truly common in these crucial areas. Avoiding another Greek collapse is crucial for the EU's future, and Macron and Merkel know that. The return of "big picture " thinking about Europe would be a welcome development, in the right hands.

Anonymous said...

Macron's pacing seems smart: he wants to get his big domestic reforms through right away (labour being the first and biggest), and he seems to be in a strong enough position that this tactic will work. Success at domestic liberalizing reform will buy Macron good will in Germany. The anticipation of German concessions on the Eurozone, in turn, increases Macron's stature at home and makes domestic reforms easier to sell.

If the labour reform fails, the whole Macron project collapses like a house of cards. Macron knows this and will not flinch like Chirac and Juppé did back in the 90s. And I doubt that the unions will be able to muster the number of strikers and the general popularity they managed in 1995: if there was an appetite for that sort of protest against Macron's program the far left would have done better in the legislative elections.

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