By Nora T. Kalinskij
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in need of an ally, but she’s unlikely to find one in French President Emmanuel Macron. When the two leaders meet June 19, they’ll be trying to do what has eluded both countries for years: chart a path forward for the European Union. Their inability to agree on major EU reform has less to do with Macron’s or Merkel’s personalities than with the conflicting interests of the countries they represent.
France lost its dominant position on the Continent the day Germany unified in 1871. When Germany was divided after World War II, Paris saw the chance to build an international structure that could contain Germany in the future. The European Coal and Steel Community, the foundation on which the European Union was built, was intended to integrate Germany’s coal and steel industries – the critical components of military rearmament – with those of France and a handful of other Western European countries. Integratio