2017 has been a surprisingly kind year for the European Union – so far! Staunchly pro-EU candidates not only survived the gauntlet of national elections in France and the Netherlands but emerged triumphant. The once-imminent threat of political populism is now on the wane, we are led to believe. As if to prove that point, even the UK government is struggling to preserve a united front to see out Brexit after recent elections delivered a hung parliament.
The governments of the EU’s two core nations, Germany and France, appear to share a unified sense of purpose. Merkel has expressed a willingness to go along with two central French demands – the appointment of a Eurozone finance minister and the creation of a common budget – as long as certain conditions are met. ‘We can of course think about a Eurozone budget as long as it’s clear that this is really strengthening structures and achieving sensible results,’ she said.
Ms. Merkel’s surprise overture, however qualified, suggests the stalled process of EU integration could kick back into life sooner than most experts had expected. Particularly surprising is the timing of Merkel’s comments, coming as they do ahead of make-or-break general elections in September.
This post was published at Wolf Street by Don Quijones ‘ Jun 22, 2017.