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Balance of Power Changing: Merkel Dominates Europe No More

© REUTERS / Fabrizio Bensch/FilesFile photo of German Chancellor Angela Merkel attending a debate at the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, in Berlin March 19, 2015
File photo of German Chancellor Angela Merkel attending a debate at the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, in Berlin March 19, 2015 - Sputnik International
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France is challenging Germany’s dominance in Europe as the European agenda is changing fast amid recent world events.

French President Francois Hollande (C) and French Defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (L) leave the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris - Sputnik International
After Paris Attacks, France Will Challenge German Dominance in Europe
The recent events including the migrant crisis and the civil war in Syria has put "hard power" back atop the European agenda, journalist James Neuger wrote in his article. Those changes are burying the notion of the economically powerful but militarily shy Germany as Europe’s leader.

"French warplanes taking off from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier may not remake the Middle East, but are already reshaping Europe’s balance of power after years of German economic dominance," the article read.

The author gave some examples to prove the fact that Paris is challenging Germany’s dominance. France was never comfortable with Germany’s low-deficit requirements and finally it has cast them off. Announcing an increase in French military spending after the Paris attacks, President Francois Hollande said: "In these circumstances, the security pact is more important than the stability pact." The rest of Europe, including Germany, had no choice but to agree with this.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron, not German Chancellor Angela Merkel, was the first person Hollande spoke with about his plans to battle the Islamic State (ISIL) terrorist group, the author wrote.

Germany has undisputed economic power, but it is unable to maintain security in Europe in a short-term perspective, Daniel Fiott, a researcher at the Institute for European Studies, was quoted as saying in the article.

"There is a bit of a balance of power emerging there," he added.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel - Sputnik International
Merkel Losing Her Status of ‘Infallible Leader’ – Think Tank
"The focus, if not obsession, with the eurozone crisis has given us the impression that Germany is the superpower in the European integration process," Christophe Hillion, professor of European law at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, was quoted as saying in the article. "But if we widen our view of European integration, the picture might be different."

The author underscored that Hollande’s visit to Moscow this week "spurred concern" in Europe that France will break from the EU consensus on sanctions against Russia.

It is likely that French and German interests over a possible alliance with Russia will diverge, Willem Oosterveld, an analyst at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, said.

According to him, many Eastern European countries will not be happy if the EU eases its policy toward Russia. As for protecting their strategic interests, they count on Germany.

Earlier, a columnist for Foreign Policy wrote an article about France possibly challenging Germany’s leadership in Europe. According to him, Paris demonstrated that France was never happy with taking a backseat after Germany in the EU. The crisis of the German model of reigning Europe would fuel the struggle for power in the region.

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