The leader of the German Christian Social Union Party (CSU) Horst Seehofer and Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images

Are Europe’s Populists Calling the Shots?

Less than six months after forming another grand coalition government, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is now fighting for her political life against a pan-European alliance of anti-immigration forces. But whether or not she holds on to power, it is already clear that Germany's unique influence over EU affairs is waning.

BERLIN – In 2011, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was forced from office by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and replaced by Mario Monti, an able technocrat who looked like he had been designed in a laboratory by the European Commission and Goldman Sachs.

But now the boot is on the other foot. An extraordinary populist coalition comprising Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Italian Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini, and German Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer is threating to oust Merkel over her migration policies.

In an attempt to shore up her position, Merkel recently held a summit with French President Emmanuel Macron at Meseberg Castle outside of Berlin, where she agreed to a European Union reform agenda that would seem to go beyond most Europhiles’ wildest dreams.

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