May, Macron, Merkel: The Powerless Three

Remember the summit in June? At that time, the EU muddled through, simulating some “major” decisions. Nowadays, not even that is possible any more. The October meeting was a summit of the Powerless – and we are not talking about Mrs May alone.

No, Chancellor Merkel and President Macron are also badly affected. Merkel has become a “lame duck” since the Bavarian elections. Her “Grand Coalition” in Berlin has become rather small – CSU and SPD have shrunk.

If the CDU loses in the state elections in Hesse, too, Merkel will become Chancellor on call. In terms of European politics, she will not make anything happen any more – even the promised “fresh start for Europe” was a flop.

The situation in France is not quite as dramatic. President Macron has “only” shrunk from the “Sun King” to normal proportions. But his great visions for the EU are gone, he doesn’t even talk about them anymore.

The Franco-German engine is at a standstill, the Brexit is putting even more sand in the machine. The main problem in London seems to be that Prime Minister May lacks even a somewhat reliable majority.

She has become hostage of the hardliners in her party and of the Northern Irish DUP. On the other hand, Merkel and Macron can’t jump over their own shadows to make a compromise with May. Pure powerlessness of the “big three”.

How powerless the entire EU has become can be seen not only in the Brexit row – but also in the two other major topics of the October summit meeting: migration and the euro reform.

For months now, no progress has been made on migration – neither on “external border protection” nor on internal solidarity. The “solutions” of the June summit (repatriation agreements, reception camps, etc.) have proved impracticable.

The reform of the euro has become a non-starter, too – even the promised conversion of the ESM into a European monetary fund came to a standstill recently. Rien ne va plus, Mr. Macron…

After all, one can be glad if the EU does not manoeuvre itself into a new crisis – just think of Italy…

Translated with