(Update 19.03: corrected misspelling of Kramp-Karrenbauer)
Earlier this month something unprecedented, as far as I recall, happened in European politics. The head of state and government of a member state of the EU, France’s Emmanuel Macron, directly addressed the citizens of all the EU countries, simultaneously, in no less than 22 European languages. In doing so he bypassed the usual intergovernmental channels completely and the filtering systems of 28 nationally organised media at least partially.
While the unusual form of the address ruffled some feathers, it drew a high-level response. The general-secretary of the CDU, and likely Germany’s next Chancellor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (AKK), issued a response, made available in five languages. Beyond the significance of the fact that Germany’s response came not from Angela Merkel, but the likely next head of government, this exchange constitute shoots of a tree whose stunted growth has long been considered a critical weakness of the EU: a European public space (Öffentlichkeit).
But what of the content? Here the differences are marked, but in the context of the upcoming European elections that may not be a bad thing. [Read more…]