Macron's alliance with Spain and Portugal
French President Emmanuel Macron is currently visiting the heads of government of Spain and Portugal. His talks with the two left-wing prime ministers are focussing on the migration issue, the future of the EU and collaboration in the energy sector. Can a Southern European alliance give the EU fresh impetus?
A new opportunity for European solidarity
El País hopes that a new left-wing alliance will be formed in Southeast Europe:
“Given the growing Europhobia and the weakness of Angela Merkel's government, Madrid and Lisbon have better credentials as allies for Macron's Europeanism. ... Both Macron and [Spain's prime minister Pedro] Sánchez defend the principle of solidarity in redistributing migrants to mitigate Europhobia and restore a common identity in EU policy. ... The contribution of the Iberian Peninsula could be essential also for recovering the European values that populism and the far right are calling into question. In the context of conservative majorities in Europe, the left, which is also present in Macron's government, has the opportunity to demonstrate how important its contribution to peace, progress and solidarity in the EU has been and will continue to be in the future.”
First get the finances in order
The southern European trio has little room to manoeuvre, economist Bruno Alomar writes on the website Atlantico:
“It's illusory to think that Europe can be advanced against the will of the northern countries. Because the fact is that these countries are better managed and have more say in the EU. ... What's more, France should not fool itself. It initiated the European project to keep Germany in check and develop economically. The trap into which Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy, François Hollande and Emmanuel Macron all fell was to believe that by means of a kind of reverse diplomatic alliance they could somehow avoid having to put the country's finances in order and reform the economy.”