The European Union’s (EU’s) woes since 2008 highlighted the many problems with its half-and-half approach to integration. While France under Emmanuel Macron has been keen to address this, the thrifty German of popular imagination has been reluctant to take on more responsibility for his profligate southern European cousins.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s current political weakness has changed the equation. The deal she has now clinched with the EU-friendly Social Democrats party to form an alliance government involves more support for integration than Germany has ever managed—from bringing the European Stability Mechanism within the EU budget to a minimum corporate tax rate for the euro zone.

There is no certainty that the agenda will be successful, of course. From low-tax countries such as Ireland to naysayers within Merkel’s own party, there are plenty of obstacles. But with France and Germany, the EU’s leaders, showing shared intent, this is the best opportunity yet for structural change.

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