Germany is shutting down its last reactors and focusing on coal power instead. The shift is a result of pressure from environmentalists. One might question the logic of this, as nuclear energy is extremely clean compared to coal. There is also considerable scope for developing and improving nuclear energy, while coal-fired power stations are certainly being equipped with increasingly better filters, but the dirt that gets stuck in the filters has to be emptied somewhere. Moreover, the residues are often radioactive, as an irony of fate.
France, on the other hand, does not seem to have the same plans to phase out nuclear power. Macron has taken the lead, arguing that Europe has the potential to become a third superpower, and that it should not support the US in its upcoming proxy war between Taiwan and China. Europe should become more independent.
The fact that Macron only lists three major powers is also amusing, as it implies that at least one of today’s major powers will fall. In reality, we may have more great powers than that.
This new and powerful Europe will be led by France. Even though Germany has long been the industrial and economic engine. But maybe not anymore, as energy becomes more expensive with the decommissioning of nuclear power?
Cheap energy is extremely important for industrialised nations, and it is becoming increasingly important as the Ukraine war has revealed the plight of Western manufacturing, with the Russians and Chinese outperforming us in the production of shells, missiles, etc. And modern wars rely on resources and large-scale manufacturing, something the West is no longer capable of, as industries have moved to Southeast Asia.
France is not as subdued a nation as Germany. US military bases have been in Germany since World War II, and it is a trick question whether the country is occupied by the US, or a partner. At the same time, France is dealing with some internal problems, popular uprisings and difficulties with migration, as well as all the other issues that Western countries deal with, inflation, economic crisis, austerity, etc.
My guess, which I have been thinking about for some time, is that the major European states will drop out of the EU project one by one. When the tight suit no longer fits, they will do as they please. Why should Germany or France listen to the smaller countries? And the UK has already left.
There is a scenario where the old Easter bloc and possibly a few more countries remain. Like a resurrected Habsburg Empire. And there is a kind of power vacuum in these regions. Countries or pieces of the puzzle that could be put together into something bigger. They have a different approach to heavy industry and energy, and they all share Central European culture to some extent, as well as aspiring to a more traditional conservative existence, increasingly unimpressed with the degenerate West.
So, Paris, or Vienna, Budapest? A few years ago I would have added Warsaw, but they seem too keen to get involved in the Ukrainian war, and that could be disastrous for the Poles. However, I think Northern Italy and Southern Germany could also be interested in a Central European alliance. Regions become increasingly important in times of national decline. The new Europe may take an unexpected shape, and it is far from certain that France will be its obvious leader.