MARTIN SCHULZ baffled many, particularly outside Germany, with his call yesterday for a United States of Europe by 2025. The Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader was addressing his party’s conference from a position of weakness, following its worst election result (20.5%) in post-war history and ahead of a crucial vote of delegates on whether or not to talk to the centre-right CDU/CSU alliance about another grand coalition.
Emmanuel Macron loomed large. Mr Schulz echoed the French president’s commitment to a convention of European civic society. His talk of a federal moment by 2025 reflected Mr Macron’s timetable (the president wants to achieve several of his more integrationist proposals by 2024).