Wait­ing for Ger­many

Financial Nigeria Magazine - - Contents - Pan­el­lists at a sem­i­nar on the Euro Area at the 2018 Spring Meet­ings of the IMF/World Bank in Wash­ing­ton D.C.

More than a decade af­ter the 2008 fi­nan­cial cri­sis, the Euro­pean Union is still stag­nat­ing po­lit­i­cally. But the EU must be strength­ened if the project of Euro­pean in­te­gra­tion is to suc­ceed. Oth­er­wise, the forces of the new na­tion­al­ism will con­tinue their as­sault on democ­racy, the rule of law, and the bloc’s other defin­ing val­ues. The main rea­son that Europe re­mains at an im­passe is Ger­many. For years af­ter 2008, when the EU was con­fronting slow growth and mount­ing eco­nomic crises, Ger­many in­sisted that it could not move the Euro­pean project for­ward alone, and that it would have to wait for France.

Then, in the spring of 2017, Em­manuel Macron was elected to the French pres­i­dency on the prom­ise that he would push for EU-level re­forms and mod­ern­ize the French econ­omy. But just when France was com­ing back on board, Ger­many was ap­proach­ing its Septem­ber 2017 gen­eral elec­tion, which re­sulted in sig­nif­i­cant losses for Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel’s Chris­tian Demo­cratic Union and led to a months-long ef­fort to form a new gov­ern­ment.

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