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Can “Mercron” Deliver for Europe?

If French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have one thing going for them, it is their own mutual desire to make their partnership work. Ideally, they will enter into an open political marriage from which all of Europe will benefit, rather than an exclusive relationship that breeds resentment.

BERLIN – Confidence has returned to Europe’s chancelleries just in the nick of time, what with US President Donald Trump due in Europe in a few days. During the annus horribilis of 2016, many feared for the European Union’s survival. But in 2017, there is renewed hope for the European project, owing to Emmanuel Macron’s election as president of France, and electoral defeats for populists in the Netherlands, Austria, and Germany, as well as Trump’s plunging popularity at home.

The recently forged “Mercron” partnership between Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has European policymakers talking excitedly about a reinvention of the eurozone. There are now proposals for a shared eurozone budget and finance minister, and for an EU-level security union to tackle terrorism and strengthen border controls.

Moreover, the European Commission last month launched a new defense fund to close the gap between Europe’s aspiration to defend itself and its ability to do so. The hope is that 510 million Europeans will no longer have to depend on 320 million Americans for their security.

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