The collapse of Germany’s coalition talks is the latest shock to hit Europe. No one saw it coming. Of course the blow is of a different nature from the banking crisis, the war in Ukraine, the refugee crisis, Brexit, Trump, Poland and Hungary’s democratic backsliding, or Catalan secessionism. Germany’s politics look upended but the fundamentals are still in place: the postwar democratic set-up is hardly under threat
The crisis in Catalonia and the resilience of European populists have made a well-functioning Franco-German partnership more important than ever. But if the European project is going to have any chance of surviving, the gap between German prudence and French audacity will have to be bridged.