A new lease of life for the eurozone

Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel © Getty images
Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel: saviours of the eurozone?

“Like all the best clichés, the notion that the European Union is driven by a Franco-German ‘locomotive’ is grounded in truth,” says The Economist’s Charlemagne column. The compromises forged between Paris and Berlin have defined post-war Europe, yet lately “the French part of the engine has run out of steam”.

Emmanuel Macron, the new president, is now promising to kick-start the French economy, and his visit to Berlin this week raises the question of whether the Franco-German engine could start motoring again. Yet “there is little appetite anywhere in Europe for the treaty changes that a major currency revamp would require” and upcoming German elections are likely to delay any agreement for the time being. “Many Germans think their contributions to eurozone bail-outs over the years have shown plenty of solidarity already.”

There was little on offer this week beyond warm words, although Merkel did say that “it’s possible to change the treaty if it makes sense”. Stlll, we shouldn’t write the two leaders’ efforts off. British commentators underestimate the resilience of the Paris-Berlin axis at their peril, as Daniel Hannan points out in The Daily Telegraph.

There are real differences – “Macron wants the EU to pool some of its members’ debts; Merkel has had enough of carrying others’ liabilities. He wants to relax the rules on public spending; she wants to see him make domestic reforms first.” But “for the French and the Germans, the EU is emotional rather than political”. The pair share a commitment to the eurozone and to political integration.

Indeed, Merkel may now have more room to manoeuvre on the question of eurozone reform than previously thought, notes the Financial Times. The opposition Social Democrats have suffered bruising defeats in recent regional elections and, though the general election is still four months away, “Merkel’s domestic position looks more secure than it has been since the start of the migration crisis”. A partnership with Macron is the best chance in years “to address the EU’s endemic problems and give the bloc a new lease of life”.

  • bobbo christin

    The sooner it dies the better.


Claim 12 issues of MoneyWeek (plus much more) for just £12!

Let MoneyWeek show you how to profit, whatever the outcome of the upcoming general election.

Start your no-obligation trial today and get up to speed on:

  • The latest shifts in the economy…
  • The ongoing Brexit negotiations…
  • The new tax rules…
  • Trump’s protectionist policies…

Plus lots more.

We’ll show you what it all means for your money.

Plus, the moment you begin your trial, we’ll rush you over THREE free investment reports:

‘How to escape the most hated tax in Britain’: Inheritance tax hits many unsuspecting families. Our report tells how to pass on up to £2m of your money to your family without the taxman getting a look in.

‘How to profit from a Trump presidency’: The election of Donald Trump was a watershed moment for the US economy. This report details the sectors our analysts think will boom from Trump’s premiership, and gives specific investments you can buy to profit.

‘Best shares to watch in 2017’: Includes the transcript from our roundtable panel of investment professionals – and 12 tips they’re currently tipping. The report also analyses key assets, including property, oil and the countries whose stock markets currently offer the most value.