Merkel Macron meeting NurPhoto/Getty Images

How Macron Can Unite Europe

Pushing for the creation of a fiscal union without a political union could forever block the road to European unification, and set the people of Europe against one another more than the euro ever did. If French President Emmanuel Macron really wants to unite Europe, he should focus on strengthening defense partnerships.

MUNICH – Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential election sent a wave of relief and euphoria across Europe. But now a reality check is in order, because we do not yet know how the new president intends to restore the French economy. The country suffers from an unemployment rate of nearly 10%, and its manufacturing sector is still operating 12% below its level before the 2008 global financial crisis.

Macron has indicated that he does not want to increase the retirement age, change the 35-hour workweek, or make it easier for firms to dismiss workers. At the same time, he wants northern eurozone countries to send money to southern countries, to protect French financial and economic markets in these regions.

This is an admittedly broad-brush portrayal of the program that got Macron elected, but it is nonetheless to the point. What else could he possibly mean when he calls for a newly created eurozone finance ministry that can accrue jointly guaranteed debt and collect its own taxes. What about when he asks for common eurozone deposit protection and unemployment insurance? The motive behind these ideas is all too obvious: support the domestic economy at others’ expense.

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