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France Gets Its Chance to Lead Europe

MIN READNov 27, 2019 | 10:00 GMT

Paris' Eiffel Tower is seen at night.

Paris' Eiffel Tower is seen at night. French President Emmanuel Macron's government stands poised for a leading role in Europe, but it won't have it all its own way.

(NOPPAWAT CHAROENSINPHON/Getty Images)

In May 2017, Emmanuel Macron became the president of France; two-and-a-half years on, he has the opportunity to become the effective leader of the European Union. Indeed, France stands on the cusp of a greater role in the bloc as other movers and shakers deal with their own issues: Germany, which has been the European Union's de facto leader for at least a decade, is now too focused on domestic issues to direct the Continent, while the United Kingdom, Europe's second-largest economy, is on its way out of the union. What's more, the French economy is growing at a decent pace, giving Paris the legitimacy it lacked in the past. But the very same factors that have created an unusual opportunity for France will also constrain its room for action as Macron contends with foreign and domestic opposition to his vision. Despite Macron's diplomatic efforts, the impact of Paris' push...

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