Cit took four years, but we’re getting there. When historians of European construction look at the 2020 decade, perhaps they will establish that the response to the Sorbonne speech, fireworks of proposals for Europe launched by young President Emmanuel Macron in September 2017, came from Berlin in November 2021, in a thick 177-page document: the coalition contract of the German government led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz. And that this two-part event gave new impetus to the integration of the Union.
Because if the chancellor has campaigned on his ability to look like Chancellor Angela Merkel, his government program is much more daring on Europe. In many ways, his ambition matches that which Mr. Macron, in his beginner’s ardor, hoped to launch four years ago. Wisely seated on her three terms, monopolized by endless negotiations on her fourth, Angela Merkel had treated her with contempt.
As a symbol of this renewed thread, it was Clément Beaune, architect of the Sorbonne speech and now State Secretary for European Affairs, who went to welcome Olaf Scholz in Orly on December 10. According to tradition, it is in Paris that the new Chancellor reserved his first visit abroad, as did the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Annalena Baerbock, and Minister of Finance, Christian Lindner – each representing one of the three parties of the “tricolor” coalition: Social Democrat, Greens and Liberals.
In Rome, the “savior of the euro”
The Franco-German engine therefore seems ready to restart. This is good, because important deadlines await it in 2022: the French presidency of the European Union (EU), the German presidency of the G7, substantive strategic orientations to be taken, within the EU and in the ‘NATO. But above all, the volatility of the international environment has accelerated the maturing of the European project and this German coalition, driven by strong pro-European impetus from the Greens, is timely. So would the planets be aligned?
We can believe it, at least for a moment: in Paris, a president who has made Europe his trademark and who will be keen to show, if he wants to be re-elected, that thanks to the rotating presidency of the ‘EU, from 1is January 2022, it can achieve results; in Berlin, a new government in working order, which claims a European dynamic; in Rome, a prime minister, Mario Draghi, crowned with his title of savior of the euro; in Brussels, a Commission which defines itself as “Geopolitics” and begins to equip itself with instruments, such as the recently established counter-sanctions, to defend member states in a hostile world.
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“The current Paris-Berlin-Rome-Brussels axis gives an overview of what Europe could do when the planets are aligned”