Charlemagne: A Teutonic union

THE European Union, it is often said, long served to disguise both French weakness and German strength. It magnified France’s unabashed pursuit of its national interests and allowed Germany to pretend it did not have any. But the euro crisis has shifted power decisively to Angela Merkel’s Germany, dispelling the illusion. The recent allocation of top jobs may have killed it.This is not apparent at first glance. No German has secured a big post (barring Martin Schulz, who stays as president of the European Parliament). This week Jean-Claude Juncker, the incoming president of the European Commission, doled out various jobs to the individuals nominated by their national governments. Günther Oettinger, the German, was put in charge of the “digital economy and society”: hardly a dazzling portfolio for a man from the club’s largest and richest member (although, of course, Mr Juncker insists that commissioners leave their passports at the door). Mr Oettinger’s work will also be overseen by a vice-president: Andrus Ansip, from tiny Estonia.But German influence may be detected in subtler form. The best example is the economic and financial affairs commissioner. Since the…

Link to article: www.economist.com/news/europe/21616954-behind-scenes-germany-quietly-asserts-its-influence-brussels-teutonic-union?fsrc=rss|eur

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