EU WAR: Merkel’s power wanes as Macron seizes power in IMF and Brussels takeover
President Emmanuel Macron is understood to have been influential in the recent appointment of the International Monetary Fund managing director – Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank Chief Executive and former Commission Vice President. While the appointment of Ursula von der Leyon as European Commission president last month couldn’t have been a better result for Mr Macron after he prevented Germany and Angela Merkel’s lead candidate Manfred Weberfrom getting the EU job.
Mr Macron’s influence at the top comes at a time when Mrs Merkel power is waning amid concerns at home, with Germany suffering an economic downturn, and her own health concerns.
The situation comes just months after Mr Macron and Mrs Merkel put pen to paper on a new deal, which updated their 1963 post-war reconciliation accord in a move widely viewed as an attempt to reinvigorate the EU’s main axis with growing euroscepticism and nationalism simmering.
The extension to the Elysee Treaty was signed at a ceremony in the German border city of Aachen in January in an attempt to take full control of the bloc and create a bloc-wide army.
The treaty touched on policies such as closer security cooperation, with the two countries pledging to come to each other’s defence in case of military attack, create a joint defence and security council and harmonise their rules for military equipment exports.
The aim was to strengthen the EU’s main line as growing eurosceptic nationalism is currently testing the institution’s cohesion.
France’s ambitious president Mr Macron has been ploughing ahead with plans to see more pan-European policies, which would allow financial transfers between countries, which he believes would better prepare the eurozone for a future crisis.
His party, La République En Marche, holds its line on core principle of being “viscerally pro-European” and since he took office, the French President has been fighting to keep his dream of European integration alive.
During his electoral campaign, the French leader pledged to overhaul not only France but the EU an attempt to revamp the institution with a new vision of a stronger union.
His reforms to further integrate the bloc have always been welcomed by Mrs Merkel, who is on her way out of German politics, as she battles to maintain power.
But Mrs Merkel strength at the top has been waning in recent months as her party continues haemorrhaging votes.
Germany’s leading coalition party CDU/CSU has plunged into a crisis following the disappointing results achieved at the European elections in May.
A recent shock poll found far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) has more support than the Chancellor’s party in eastern Germany.
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Now the largest opposition party in the Bundestag, the poll found AfD would be likely to take 23 percent of the vote in eastern Germany, followed by Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) with 22 percent.
Brexit has also unveiled cracks in the relationship between France and Germany as the pillars of the EU remain divided, with Mr Macron determined to punish the UK for leaving the bloc, while Mrs Merkel has stressed the need to keep Britain on side.
And France is understood to have frustrated its EU ally Germany when it unveiled its ambitious “space force” plans, which is at odds with Berlin’s preferred approach to military and defence issues.
Meanwhile, the Economist’s Paris bureau chief Sophie Pedder told how Mr Macron suffered a massive “disappointment” at the hands of Germany and Mrs Merkel early on in his presidency in an act that would come to define the imbalanced relationship between the two leaders.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s podcast ‘France and Germany: Divided They Stand’ she said before Mr Macron “was even elected he talked about this being something that would be worth several percentage points of GDP.
She added: “So a significant budget for the eurozone which he felt was a stabilising tool and a tool also for enabling countries at difficult times to be supported by the eurozone.
“And Macron went in, I think, really believing he could persuade the Germans to move on that.
“And he felt that the way he was going to do it was to do his homework in France first.
“In other words, do what all Germans didn’t think the French could do which was reform their economy and bring in a series of measures to do things like loosen the labour market.
“Macron did keep his word on those domestic reforms but it wasn’t enough to secure any movement from Berlin.”
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