Can Merkel Be Moved?
Berlin — Ever since the march to European union began in the late 1940s, French-German collaboration has been at the heart of the project. Until the recent defeat of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, his close alliance with German Chancellor Angela Merkel continued this tradition, albeit on behalf of policies that have driven Europe deeper into depression and inflicted brutal austerity on smaller nations such as Greece and Portugal.
With the May 6 election of French Socialist Francois Hollande on an anti-austerity program, Paris and Berlin are now at odds. If a Social Democratic-Green coalition wins next year’s German elections, expected in September 2013, that would create a progressive Paris-Berlin axis.
There are, however, two huge problems. September 2013 is an eternity away and the European project could go up in smoke in the meantime. The other problem is German public opinion.