The German political class is led to revise its approach to the Russian question from top to bottom. Successive governments since reunification have wanted to believe in the possibility of an agreement with Putin. They discover the extent of their dependence on Russian gas and the risks this poses to their industry. It is in this Germany in full introspection that Emmanuel Macron was to arrive Monday evening. The re-elected president finds himself at the head of a fractured France, plagued by populism and struggling to reform. The engine without which Europe is no longer advancing has, as often in its history, some reason to doubt. So don’t waste your strength.
Before Berlin, stopping in Strasbourg on the occasion of Europe Day, Emmanuel Macron pleaded for a revision of the treaties that govern the European Union. This would be a precondition for the adoption of the proposals of a large citizen panel – the Conference for the Future of Europe – which delivered its work yesterday. The intention is laudable. In the immediate future, it has only one fault: it deeply divides the members of the Union. Thirteen of the twenty-seven countries immediately expressed their opposition. A perfect illustration of the ungrateful and laborious nature of European construction. There is the Europe of citizens’ conventions and the Europe of interests; the ideal Europe and the Europe of compromises; the Europe of dreams and the Europe of reality. One does not go without the other. When war threatens at the borders, the urgency may seem elsewhere than in an institutional overhaul, which risks dispersing energies. But it is also precisely because it is confronted with new threats that the EU must ask itself the question of the current limits of its organisation.