Macron and Merkel’s EU crown

They were touching pictures at the centenary of the Armistice, when Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel held hands in a gesture of reconciliation between the two former combatants.

Mr Macron looked both respectful and a little proprietorial; respectful because he knows who calls the shots in Europe, but proprietorial because he is a young head of state with a future, whereas his German partner is a head of government with, by her own admission, mostly a past.

Days before the Armistice commemorations, Mrs Merkel’s coalition suffered the latest of a series of reverses in local elections.

That defeat prompted her to announce she would stand down from the leadership of her party, the CDU, this December, but that she planned to continue as Chancellor until the end of her term in 2021: though even colleagues think that an ambitious plan, and she may be gone before then.

But, of course, Mrs Merkel is not merely the leader of Germany; she is the leader of the EU. That is because Germany is the most populous, ...

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