Macron or Juncker

von Maximilian Steinbeis

Commission President Juncker has delivered his State of the Union speech, proposing a whole list of reform and policy measures which are now being weighed and sorted and interpreted by the usual experts and, other than that, go by largely unnoticed. Even days before the national elections in the largest EU member state, the near-death experiences of the Euro and the refugee crisis notwithstanding, nobody seems to give much of a damn about the State of the Union out there. We have been whirled about for so many years in Angela Merkel’s kettle of pragmatism, along with always the same problems, hopes and frustrations, that we can hardly imagine any more how it feels to contemplate politics as a highly charged political field of polarization – to a degree that the longing for political tension seems almost a bit silly, nostalgic, even dangerous. At this risk, I would like to make a proposal: Let us consider, for the sake of trial, the present situation as a polarized political field. Perhaps that helps making a choice in next Sunday’s election.

Alright, then. Let us say we are faced with a decision. We stand before a fork road. The middle of the road is no longer viable; that route ends in the sticks at best, on a tree at worst. We have a decision to make: One road leads towards a stable, fair and democratically legitimized Eurozone with all the competences and institutions necessary for its functioning, a club of currently 19 that monitors the compliance of its members and tells applicants what prerequisites they have to fulfill, and really means it. The other road means prioritizing the joint project of the 28 (plus the half dozen prospective member states on the Balkan, and minus the UK) as an imperfect but workable legal framework for its diverse members to manage their economic and ideological differences with as little political tension as possible ...

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