Opinion – German Results Reflect European Unease Over Identity, Economy – WSJ

In an astute article, the WSJ reports that Germany’s election result confirms the overriding trend of European politics in the past year – namely, the crumbling of the Continent’s established parties in the face of voter anxiety over economics and identity.

Source: German Results Reflect European Unease Over Identity, Economy – WSJ

I particularly liked the following observation:

The future direction of the EU and its major nations is now up for grabs in a fluid contest between internationalists and nationalists, incumbents and insurgents.

It’s interesting in Trump’s government, the power fight is simply between the nationalists and the globalists.

But in the last UK election, the two majority parties gained over minorities who had done well in the previous election.

In practical terms, the EU will now be dominated by Merkel and Macron but both will suffer from widespread pushback of their domestic policies. Many would argue that there’s less appetite for further EU political integration.

It will take Angela Merkel probably until Christmas to for a new government, so the UK’s Brexit team should not look to concessions from post-election Germany. Macron meanwhile will increasingly struggle with left-wing challenge to his Labour reforms, so he too is unlikely to upset French audiences with handouts to the UK.

But there are some dots to be linked. There are increasing concerns about security in Europe, most significantly from Russian aggression in the East and Islamization within. Theresa May shrewdly played a strategic alliance over security and defense as pivotal for the post Brexit settlement with the EU.

Whilst the UK & the EU are way behind Trump’s latest intervention to ban people from eight high risk countries as a nationl security threat, European security will be increasing important for the twenty-seven members (excluding the UK).

This leads me to an open question:

Now that the French and German elections are decided, will strategic issues about defense encourage the EU to cut the UK a special deal on Brexit?

Thoughts?

Read Original: PM’s Florence speech: a new era of cooperation and partnership between the UK and the EU – GOV.UK

Read the full official text of how Prime Minister Theresa May set out how the UK will be the strongest friend and partner to the EU after we leave the EU.

Source: PM’s Florence speech: a new era of cooperation and partnership between the UK and the EU – GOV.UK

Although I’m no fan of Theresa May, I quite liked the speech and I’m seriously anti-Brexit. It’s a shame this speech was not made months ago but no doubt Mrs May had differing viewpoints in her own cabinet.

The strategic relationship with the EU on defense is an important offering and should go down well in many parts.

But in the end, the speech was light on detail.

The bottom line – she was trying to appeal over the heads of the bureaucrats to the 27 member countries, with an olive branch. The problem is that the EU doesn’t want the UK to be as well off outside the EU as within. There’s the rub.

We shall have to wait and see the reaction but it won’t all be as foregiving as this blog.

Thoughts?