- Emmanuel Macron, the New King of Europe?
by , http://www.theamericanconservative.com/
The French president has displaced Angela Merkel as the continent’s most powerful leader—and he has big plans for a big EU.
Despite concerns over too much centralization of the EU’s competencies, Brussels has only continued to consolidate power. It’s now moving to question the principle of unanimity that requires all nations to agree on foreign policy decisions, and is even constructing a European army.
In fact, the European Union’s strategy to regain its peoples’ trust hasn’t been to rethink the process of political integration, but to foster it. The mantra of “more Europe” is also shared by French president Emmanuel Macron. Macron has marked his appearances in the European Council (the body representing the member states of the EU) by demanding the introduction of a so-called “digital tax” on companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook, as well as calling for a “Eurozone finance minister” and a budget for the 19 states that share the common euro currency. Macron also suggested the introduction of minimum wages in individual member states in order to “renew the European social model.” While 25 member states are gradually integrating their military forces through the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO)—including upgrades to maritime surveillance, armored infantry vehicles, and artillery—Macron has made it crystal clear that “Europe is devoted to creating a common military force, a budget of a common defense, and of the doctrine of common defense to act.”
Macron is even digging out old and failed attempts at taxation by pleading for a European carbon tax and a relaunch of a financial transaction tax, which did not find support even under his socialist predecessor François Hollande.
In order to achieve his European dreams, Macron needs two things. First, he needs Germany. The Franco-German friendship has long determined the scope of the EU, and if Paris and Berlin agree on something, Brussels tends to follow their lead. With Germany governed by an aimless and purely opportunistic coalition government (and with the United Kingdom—long opposed to more EU centralization—out the door), Macron should have little problem getting what he wants. This has left him in the role of Europe’s unofficial leader, and the sudden French dominance of the political situation has become evident in both Paris and Berlin. Former foreign minister of Germany Sigmar Gabriel told the German press back in October that “France is dominating Germany on EU initiatives by 10 to 0.” The French newspaper Le Figaro, meanwhile, quoted a French government minister saying “Macron is a young and strong power; Merkel is a weak and fragile power.”