Germany isn't the only country reeling from the fall out of Angela Merkel's admission over the weekend that she can't pull together a coalition government.

France and its new President Emmanuel Macron's hopes of delivering greater economic and political integration to the European Union have also been dealt a serious, and potentially fatal, blow.

Macron, who came to power on a promise to supercharge the European Union, only ever had a slim chance of delivering on promises such as a meaningful European budget -- a move that itself was seen as a precursor to the more revolutionary idea of EU bonds. Closer political union was also slated, an initiative that had lukewarm support amongst many EU members -- including German politicians.

The temptation now that Merkel is weakened is to suggest that Macron, backed by an unprecedented majority at home, will fill the Merkel-shaped void in Europe to become the EU's new proxy-leader.

Superficially that may yet prove to be the case. Yet the implementation of Macron's vision for Europe leaned heavily on support from Chancellor Merkel and through her Germany.

A joke often heard in Brussels is that France needs Germany's support to hide its weakness, while Germany needed France to hide its strength. That remains as true as ever. France's economy may be on the up, but Germany remains the economic heart of Europe and as a result the effective underwriter of any economic policies written into law by the 28-nation trading bloc.

Even Macron's 'Plan-B' option of a two-speed Europe - in which German and French integration speeds ahead of less willing members - is dead so long as Germany remains politically stalled.

Macron still has time on his side. He is only six months into his five-year term. Yet in politics time is worth little without momentum. The relief at Macron's victory in France, where the alternative was a destructive and protectionist far-right, handed him a honeymoon period during which he might have been able to drag a more reluctant Germany into fundamental EU reform.

Such goodwill dissipates quickly. If Germany moves to hold new elections, as seems to be Merkel's preferred option, then Macron may have to wait until the second half of next year to discover who he will be working with in Berlin - and will have no guarantee that the resulting government is open to his plan for greater integration.

If Merkel is nudged into a minority government, as seems to be the preference of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, then Macron faces the prospect of playing out the rest of his term with no substantial support from his crucial ally.

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