In the face of multiple challenges of Brexit, Brexit, and serious internal differences, the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 has ushered in a stress test for Europe, which is advancing on the road to regional integration.
Who will “stable” for Merkel in Europe?
A few days ago, a video of German Chancellor Merkel was popular on social media.
She painstakingly persuaded the German people, especially young people: the number of deaths is soaring. During the Christmas holiday, please consciously abide by epidemic prevention norms, reduce gatherings and keep distance. “Don’t let it be the last Christmas with your grandparents!”
Since her first election as Prime Minister in 2005, Merkel has established herself in politics with a rational and calm style. However, she was emotionally excited in the video and swallowed tears for a time.
Germany is regarded as a “model of anti-epidemic” for European countries.
Although the isolation measures under the federal system are not uniform, there is a general consensus from the government to the private to cooperate with epidemic prevention, which enabled Germany to “flatten the curve” faster in the first wave of the epidemic.
In addition to the advantages of developed medical resources, the Merkel government adheres to scientific response to the epidemic, which plays an important role in effective prevention and control of the epidemic.
When the website of Politico gave European leaders a “rating” on the influence of European leaders in 2020, it ranked Merkel in “first overall” and believed that she had in fact become a leader of the West after the United States “exited”.
When weighing the so-called “interests and values”, Merkel embodies the pragmatic and rational side more. Merkel has repeatedly warned that the United States is no longer reliable and Europe must learn to be self-reliant.
She resisted the pressure of the United States and continued to advance the project of the “North Stream 2” natural gas pipeline with Russia. The European Union is considering the introduction of a 750 billion euro anti-epidemic relief fund, and Merkel’s support also plays a vital role.
In October 2021, Merkel will retire after the expiration of her term as prime minister.
In the post-epidemic era, who will “stable” Merkel in Europe?
Macron’s re-election is full of tests
Compared with Germany, which is relatively economically and politically stable, the situation faced by French President Macron since taking office is more complicated by advancing labor market reform, tax cuts, welfare cuts and other measures.
The outbreak of the epidemic partly offsets the results of Macron’s economic reform, on the other hand, and on the other hand, it also gives Macron the opportunity to restore the credibility of the government and show its decisiveness by issuing strict anti-epidemic measures.
A poll in March this year showed that his public opinion support rate rose by 11 percentage points from February to a four-year high of 43%.
Macron carried out his own economic reforms under the pressure of continuous demonstrations.
At the EU level, he persuaded Merkel’s “Unity Front” to continue to vigorously promote eurozone reform, deepen integration and call for “European autonomy” through the demand for anti-epidemic assistance.
He openly choked US President Trump’s “America First”, defended multilateral mechanisms, attacked unilateralism on many important occasions, and high-profilely resisted the US-Europe exclusal, populist and protectionist trends.
Unlike Merkel’s upcoming retirement, Macron also faces the election test of re-election in the spring of 2022.
Affected by the rebound of the epidemic and the questioning of cultural pluralism traditions after the terrorist attacks, his approval rating has declined.
In a poll on the next presidential candidate in October this year, Macron has a similar support rate with the far-right representative Marina Le Pen.
While Macron acted as the “standard bearer” of Europe, the first problem to be solved was to win the support of a divided French society.
the most urgent challenge is to control the epidemic in France.
The French presidential palace issued an announcement on the 17th that Macron himself was tested for the virus after showing initial symptoms, confirmed to be infected with the novel coronavirus, and would be self-isolated for seven days, during which he would work remotely and perform his presidential duties.