The election of Emmanuel Macron offers an opportunity to move forward on the European agenda. Macron was elected on a platform that combines structural reforms at home and a re-orientation of the EU towards a “Europe that protects”. This platform will have to be discussed with all EU partners, especially those who consider that Europe should do less, not more, in the area of social rights and tax coordination, and those who view a common budget essentially as a ‘transfer union’. The inevitable starting point is that EU countries have different preferences in terms of the efficiency–equity trade-off. The question, then, is whether making progress in parallel along the two sides of this trade-off may be acceptable politically, given that progressing along only one dimension is unlikely to be on offer. In the coming months, this fundamental questioning of European integration will likely be at the forefront of political debates, and rightly so.
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