If a government is not formed in coming weeks, Germans could return to the polls in early 2018. Many have blamed the free-market liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) for walking away from the talks, but a simple analysis allows for a more accurate conclusion: the blame for Germany’s political crisis lies squarely on the shoulders of Angela Merkel.
In light of the push from Paris to create a pan-Eurozone budget, there is a real risk of transfer union—something most Germans don’t want. Knowing the flexibility Merkel has shown Brussels in the past, only the Free Democratic Party stands between German taxpayers and pensioners, and a system that penalizes them for their fiscal prudence.
French President Emmanuel Macron laid out his vision for European integration in a speech at the Sorbonne University in Paris. Chief among his suggestions were a pan-Eurozone budget, pan-EU lists at the next European parliamentary election, and even a big step toward an EU military. In order to achieve any of these goals, Macron must gain approval from Germany, the bloc’s largest, most powerful member. With its recent election producing a fractured German parliament, the French President’s ambitions are set to meet a formidable roadblock.
Financial markets and diplomatic circles see the German election as a safe bet, with little threat of a eurosceptic revolt. But what Germany lacks in explicit euroscepticism it makes up for in implicit euroscepticism. In short, Germans are often unaware of how eurosceptic they really are.