News analysis

French charm meets German obstinacy: Not a perfect match

When Mr Emmanuel Macron was elected as France's president in May 2017, a sigh of relief could be heard throughout Europe. With Mr Macron, who had defeated right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen in the run-off, Europe would have roughly five years to get its act together - and to protect itself against the forces of populism and narcissism.

This narrative got even stronger after Germany's Dr Angela Merkel was re-elected a little later that year. Five years should be enough to eventually reform the European Union, the Euro and European institutions, the thinking went.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2019, with the headline 'French charm meets German obstinacy: Not a perfect match'. Subscribe