Macron the Destroyer?

The European elections were supposed to bring a big leap forward for democracy – and turned out to be a big hoax. How did this happen? – Part 7 of the Summer Series: Macron the Destroyer?

Manfred Weber is a bad loser. The fact that he was not appointed head of the EU Commission is not attributed by the conservative top candidate of the EPP to his own mistakes – his lack of qualifications, the untenable promises or the failure of the coalition negotiations in the European Parliament.

No, France’s president Emmanuel Macron is to blame – together with Hungary’s head of government Viktor Orban. The liberal Frenchman and the right-wing Hungarian have conspired against him, Weber claims. Many Macrons also blame the Greens for the fact that no top candidate was able to prevail.

Macron, the destroyer, and Merkel, the honest broker – this verdict is widespread in Germany. But it is wrong. Because unlike Merkel, Macron has known color from the outset. From the moment the CDU/CSU killed the transnational lists for the European elections, he spoke out against the top candidates.

Since his election, Macron has also tried, together with Merkel, to initiate a “new start” for the EU – in vain. Merkel said no. It was also the Frenchman who called for a camp election campaign against Orban – but in Berlin nobody wanted to follow him, not even Weber. After all, Orban was Weber’s closest ally for a long time.

In short, Macron spent years trying to find a common line with Merkel; he did not appear as a “destroyer”. If at all, Macron had a “destructive” effect in the European Parliament – by mixing up the liberals and getting in the way of an alliance with Weber. But he did so half-heartedly.

If he had really wanted to “march through”, he would have had to get the liberal candidate Margrethe Vestager through. Instead, he proposed Ursula von der Leyen – thus strengthening the battered Chancellor and the EPP. Basically, the CDU and CSU should therefore be grateful to him.

The Frenchman has by no means tried to score “anti-German” points or introduce the “post-Merkel era” – but has brought a German Merkel confidant to Brussels.

From Lonely Wolf to King Maker

The “Destroyer” has turned into a king maker – and that was probably the role Macron was looking for. Of course, it has advantages for him as well. On the one hand, he was able to make the French Christine Lagarde the head of the ECB (and prevent BuBa boss Jens Weidmann). He also scored well at the IMF.

Above all, however, Macron emancipated himself from Merkel and overcame his role as “lonely wolf”. For many years he was fixated on the chancellor, he played “solo” again and again. That’s all over now. Macron has transformed himself into a team player – and thus helped the Council to victory over the European Parliament.

However, this victory is bought at a high price. It is not only to the detriment of the top candidates, but also to the detriment of the new head of the Commission, who has to get by without a majority of her own. Will Leyen therefore be dependent on Macron, or will she remain loyal to Merkel? That will be the decisive question in the coming weeks.

CONCLUSION: Macron has by no means acted as destructively as he is accused of. He prevailed as a “king maker”, but he also took Germany and Merkel into consideration. The European Parliament would be well advised to approach Paris now – it was too fixated on Berlin.

Translated with