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Merkel and Macron: New Power Couple to Shake Up Europe
Merkel and Macron: New Power Couple to Shake Up Europe

Merkel and Macron: New Power Couple to Shake Up Europe

Merkel and Macron: New Power Couple to Shake Up Europe

Freshly elected French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are the new power couple leading the charge against anti-European populists and trying to put the struggling EU back on track, analysts say.
French legislative elections in June could endorse Macron’s message of change, giving him a real power base, while the long-serving Merkel faces polls in September that she is expected to win handsomely, the German news website Local.de reported.
Visiting Berlin on Monday, Macron “did not push for major, ambitious reforms (of the EU) because he knows the chancellor cannot deliver until the elections in September”, said Judy Dempsey of the Carnegie Europe think-tank.
Merkel has many times before pressed Macron’s predecessors Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy for the changes needed to lift France’s underperforming economy out of the doldrums.
The chancellor had the good fortune to benefit from the painful reforms her Social Democrat predecessor Gerhard Schroeder introduced.
This year, unemployment in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, should be around 4%, compared with 9.9% in France, according to the latest European Commission forecasts.
“Before thinking about reform of the EU, France has to restore its partners’ confidence in it and provide guarantees on the budget,” said Charles de Marcilly of the Robert Schuman Foundation.
France’s budget deficit—the shortfall between government spending and revenue—has long breached the EU limit of 3% of gross domestic product.
Given several reprieves by Brussels, the commission expects the French public deficit to still be above the limit at 3.2% next year.
Germany in marked contrast will show a surplus of 0.3%.

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