- Germany’s overriding priority is to keep the EU politically stable
- President Macron has the opportunity but not the will to reassert French influence
- A reinforced Berlin-Paris axis could provoke another bout of euroskepticism
It is no secret that the European Commission is in trouble. In foreign policy, the weakness of the European Union’s executive arm is evident. It has repeatedly run to the European Central Bank to extricate euro area members from political crises, failed to prevent Brexit, bears clear responsibility for waves of euroskepticism that periodically sweep the continent, and has yet to produce a coherent road map for Europe. The EU’s central authorities replicate traditional democratic institutions, but that has done little to burnish their image. Ordinary people are convinced that the European Parliament, for example, is overpaid and useless.
To make an informed guess about what happens next, the best thing to do is ignore Mr. Juncker & Co., and consider instead developments in the member countries.