Will Macron lead the European Union after Merkel retires? That question has been on the lips of European leaders and officials for years now. Since the European Union is led by a German politician there are always issues that arise with her removal. The same can be said for Macron, France’s newly elected leader.
There have been many speculations in the world news in regards to the possibility that Macron might want to form a party and try to win power for himself. Many European officials, including those in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain expressed serious concerns over this potential move. They worry that it might spark more trouble in world affairs. It could lead to war if the left-wing or center-right parties clash over the leadership of the EU. The center-right government of Portugal is worried about this and has made public statements urging Macron not to proceed with this sort of plan.
In the world news there have been several reports that try to answer the question “can Macron lead the EU after Merkel retires?” Some of the reports state that Macron wants to form a new political party in order to continue leading the EU. Other news sources report that Macron wants to resign as French president at some point in the near future.
In both of these stories, there are some very clear signals that we should watch carefully. The first sign is the mention of an “external” party stepping into the government for Macron. This can only mean one thing, EU membership for Macron, and maybe some of Eastern and Central Europe. These would-be EU members outside of France and Germany. Does this mean that the “coalition of the willing” was no longer a viable option for a possible French government? It may indicate that Macron may have to start from scratch and form a new party which will be viable for him but could also be seen as an admission of failure.
If Macron does form a new party, then he will need someone to run for them in the next election. This raises the obvious question: who will be able to run for this position? The news reports do not specifically name anyone, but several ministers have been mentioned. Some of these names have held elective office in the past, but others have not. It would take a very comprehensive list of potential candidates to properly evaluate if any of them would be a good choice for the French leadership.
The next step of this news story is the news that Macron would like to see an EU summit meeting after his election. There has been some unrest in Brussels over this proposal. The issue will come up at a European leaders summit in late May or early June. It would seem that this summit would be an opportunity to show support for Article 45, which would give future member states more influence over their neighbors, but some see it as a power grab by enlarging the union at its own expense.
Macron’s term as French president will only last until next spring, so it may be some time before the answer to the question “can Macron lead the European Union after Merkel retires?” gets clear. Will France be able to get the deal it wants on its national agenda, including the extension of the EMU? Will Macron’s party be able to hold onto its seats in the National Assembly after the elections in September? Many doubt that it can.
It appears that time may be running out for the French leader, and his government if it cannot manage the crisis with confidence. The next few months could make or break the government of Macron. Can they handle the coming turbulence? Time will tell. But one thing is for certain if polls are to be believed, Macron has not been able to consolidate the support of his party around him, nor have the French people. He’ll most likely need to call on the help of Germany and the United Kingdom, which might offer him a better future if the euro has no choice but to grow.