The haggling over the European Union’s top jobs has been a remarkable drama. The effort by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to broker a deal for Europe at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, last week was shot down in flames. It was perhaps the most embarrassing reversal of her career, whether in Germany or in the European arena—although she eventually saved face by securing the European Commission’s presidency for a political ally, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen.
But the game of musical chairs was not just a spectacle. It has real significance—and poses real risks. Act by act, Europe could be seen working its way toward a unique type of transnational politics. There’s reason to fear, however, that all the attention devoted to politics came at the expense of looming questions of policy.
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