But now, Merkel finds herself on the ropes. The parliamentary coalition that got her through her third term as chancellor has come unglued at the hands of a right-wing surge in Germany.
The nation has been divided by the welcome mat set out by Merkel for some one million Middle East refugees — and terrorist incidents that have killed and maimed scores in the past two years.
Now, Merkel is faced with the unenviable task of assembling a new coalition without her principal partner of recent years, the Social Democrats, who having themselves lost 40 seats in the Bundestag in their worst election showing since 1949, announced on election night they would not join Merkel’s party in government, instead opting to become the leading opposition movement in the Bundestag.
In turn, Macron didn’t waste any time promoting his own vision of Europe.
A master of political stagecraft, Macron chose for his speech the grand amphitheater of the Sorbonne, the great French university dating to 1257.