Lots of joyful commentary has accompanied Emmanuel Macron’s win in France, but it’s all more a stay of execution for Europe—not a pardon.
France is still the Sick Man of Europe, unable to reform, unable to assimilate immigrants, unable to play its role as the necessary partner and counterweight to Germany. Can France under Macron recover its poise, dynamism and develop a program for European progress that can convince the Germans that real change must come?
The odds are against it; Macron does not have the backing of a strong party, and he needs a working majority in the National Assembly to get legislation through. More, the French population remains deeply skeptical of what many there call, dismissively, “neoliberal reform.”
Not since Charles de Gaulle has a French president been elected in a less propitious moment. All the problems that wrecked the Hollande presidency are sadly still there.