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ANALYSIS – While Europe's shortcomings have paved the way for the rise of populism, the political pragmatism and innovation embodied by the new generation of pro-European leaders will not be enough. They will need concrete results, but also the support of a strong Germany.

After the delusions of the end of the world that aroused Brexit, on the Old Continent, now is the time for hopes of rebirth under the impetus of new leaders and innovative ideas.

In France, a man brushed aside a moribund system. The image of Emmanuel Macron, newly elected, walking through the courtyard of the Louvre to the sound of the European anthem, has become the emblem of a new era. It is just as spectacular as Sebastian Kurz succeeded, by his political acrobatics, in revolutionizing the forces present in Austria.

At the same time, power in Germany is changing, giving way to modernity and freshness. The coalition of German Social Democrats, Liberals and Greens walks down the path of uncertainty that the pioneers know so well. Emmanuel Macron, Sebastian Kurz, Angela Merkel, at the head of a new kind of coalition: this trio will definitely have an impact on Europe in 2018 after the shock suffered in 2016 and the hopes born in 2017.

Italy is the perfect illustration of the issues at stake: the pro-European forces have no choice but to seize this last chance to opt for a constructive future

However, the magic of the beginnings often makes us lose all common sense. Current creative power initiatives are first and foremost signs of weakness. They draw on the two major crises suffered by the continent, the euro crisis and the migration crisis which have led to the instability of electoral behavior over the past ten years.

Both on the left and on the right, the populists won the votes. In most countries, moderate pro-European parties are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain a majority, hence the emergence of political innovations.

Italy makes it possible to see concretely the consequences of the failure of such innovations. The former Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, was in a way the forerunner of Macron in Europe. Like Macron, he made the choice of pragmatism on the sidelines of classical and nationalist positions. Like him, Renzi came to power at the age of 39, announcing a plethora of reforms and keeping his word. But the spirits of sorrow got the better of the spirits of the builders. A coalition of mainstream party pundits and young demagogues succeeded in overthrowing Renzi through a campaign based on dissent and defamation.

A year after the fall of the former prime minister, Italy is facing a veritable political abyss. New elections will be held in the spring. The ball is now in the hands of the anti-elite ideological movement, dubbed the 5 Star Movement.. But, for lack of a coalition partner, he opens the way to power for the national-populist right, with Silvio Berlusconi as the gray eminence.

Italy is the perfect illustration of what is at stake: the pro-European forces have no choice but to seize this last chance to opt for a constructive future. Otherwise, the entire political landscape of the continent risks becoming unpredictable. However, claiming to be pro-European cannot be an end in itself. It is up to the parties to convince voters that they are a credible alternative to nationalism.

Faced with the debt crisis, Europeans have lost their last illusions of prosperity, while the migrant crisis has extinguished their last hopes for security, justice and order

Indeed, a wave of skepticism has emerged as the EU has plunged into successive crises, having favored rhetoric over concrete plans for the continent in terms of the economy and security. Faced with the debt crisis, European citizens have lost their last illusions of prosperity, while the migrant crisis has made them lose their last hopes of security, justice and order.

It is up to the pro-European parties to restore their faith. By their actions. They must build an EU beyond the national states, in the face of adversaries who often do not play fair. Indeed, nationalists on both the left and the right insist on the weak points of the EU, often ignoring its strengths. By their behavior, however, they push pro-Europeans to favor clear concepts rather than wishful thinking. Like Macron and Kurz do. They address Europe's problems and propose solutions. Macron focuses on the economic crisis, while Kurz focuses on the migration crisis. To keep their promises, however, they must be able to count on Germany.

Therefore, the coalition of German Social Democrats, Liberals and Greens is much more than a pretty change in a charming tricolor wrapper. It is one of the phenomena, brought to be part of the history of the rebirth of the EU. Or to constitute one of the stages of its disintegration.

By Klaus Geiger (“Die Welt”, Germany)









Source: © Macron and Kurz, last chances for Europe


  • Bretagnol Michel
    Posted November 28, 2017 14h03 0Likes

    How not to be for the construction of an independent Europe. What we believe to be the rejection of Europe is this Europe in the way it was made, so NO to Europe is in reality NO to its governance. There are so many bugs to fix

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