Jean-Claude Juncker delivers his State of the Union speech at the European Parliament Patrick Herzog/Getty Images

The Chimera of Franco-German Reform

In the past month, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and French President Emmanuel Macron have both unveiled ambitious visions for Europe's future. But both leaders' reform agendas will require the buy-in of a German electorate that is moving in the opposite direction.

CAMBRIDGE – An abiding truth in the United States is that all politics is local. Apparently, the same wisdom can be applied (to some extent) to the European Union, whose agenda ultimately depends on key member states’ national politics.

This is particularly true with respect to eurozone institutions, which almost everyone agrees are in urgent need of reform. Indeed, shoring up the eurozone was the common thread in major speeches by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and French President Emmanuel Macron last month.

In his State of the Union address, Juncker boldly outlined his ambitious vision for Europe’s future. He called on the EU to complete its banking union, establish a European finance ministry (fully integrated into the Commission), and expand the EU-level budget.

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