“Though widely admired for his energy and charisma, there is little appetite in Europe for Macron’s reform proposals, particularly amongst the eight northern EU member states that oppose deeper economic integration and the increasingly disenchanted Visegrad Four. Of the larger states, Spain is probably alone in endorsing innovations such as the European Monetary Fund, a eurozone budget, and a European finance minister, a position shared by many of the smaller, pro-integration states. Italy, currently distracted by its domestic political difficulties, abandoned this group some time ago.
What really matters is how Germany responds to these proposals. But Merkel has lost much of the authority she once enjoyed, and Macron’s plans are regarded with deep suspicion by both the CDU and her Social Democrat coalition partners. The two leaders will nevertheless submit a joint reform proposal to the June European Council, which will probably result in an underwhelming compromise that will provoke neither enthusiasm nor dismay. At best, this will be yet another exercise in muddling through.
The question is whether it will suffice to equip the EU—and the eurozone in particular—with the instruments necessary to deal with the next economic crisis, which may already be in the making”.