Bill Wirtz, writing at The American Conservative, outlines the vision of French President Emmanuel Macron. Will Macron be the next “king of Europe,” or will he be another in a long line of forgotten French leaders whose ambitions were greater than their mandates? Pushing for military unification and higher taxes, Macron is setting the agenda for “more Europe.” Wirtz writes (abridged):
Brussels has… continued to consolidate power. It’s now moving to question the principle of unanimity that requires all nations to agree on foreign policy decisions, and is even constructing a European army.
Opinion among the people of Europe, however, is much different. According to a Pew Research Center poll, 58 percent of those in Greece, 57 percent in Italy, 61 percent in France, half of Germans, and 61 percent of Spanish said they favored referendums on their nations’ memberships in the EU.
In fact, the European Union’s strategy to regain its peoples’ trust hasn’t been to rethink the process of political integration, but to foster it. The mantra of “more Europe” is also shared by French president Emmanuel Macron. Macron has marked his appearances in the European Council by demanding the introduction of a so-called “digital tax” on companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook, as well as calling for a “Eurozone finance minister” and a budget for the 19 states that share the common euro currency. Macron also suggested the introduction of minimum wages in individual member states in order to “renew the European social model.” While 25 member states are gradually integrating their military forces through the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO)—including upgrades to maritime surveillance, armored infantry vehicles, and artillery—Macron has made it crystal clear that “Europe is devoted to creating a common military force.
In order to achieve his European dreams, Macron needs two things. First, he needs Germany. The Franco-German friendship has long determined the scope of the EU, and if Paris and Berlin agree on something, Brussels tends to follow their lead.
Some of Macron’s allies in Brussels, such as Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, are preparing for the fallout of growing Euroskepticism.
It is certainly true that Emmanuel Macron is living on the chance that he’ll end up the sole European leader with influence on the continent.
If we know one thing about French monarchs in Europe, it’s that they’ve tended to overestimate their support among the common man.
Read more here.