You can't tell the players without a scorecard and Wolfgang Streeck has you covered. This very detailed article in American Affairs will tell you lots of things you didn't know about what's going on with these players and how their conflicts are likely to get resolved (or not). Streeck's conclusion:
"As the years of Merkel IV pass, “populists” of all kinds, Left and Right, will feel confirmed in their view that the European institutions inherited from the neoliberal 1990s will never be converted into protections against the gales of “globalization”—in fact, that they are so firmly locked into their historical path that they cannot be converted or “reformed” at all. All that those running them, desperately seeking to maintain an appearance of control, can do is hope that somehow things will turn out fine, for unknown and unknowable reasons. Public displays of unshakable optimism, daily protestations of good, “value”-based intentions, and hectic “news”-generating activities will be used to keep alive citizen confidence while waiting for the return of some mysterious self-restoring equilibrium, or alternatively for citizens adjusting to the end of government, national and supranational, and the advent of governance, and indeed global governance. Meanwhile, Germany will even more than in recent years become the target of international resentment, including in France, as Franco-German Kerneuropa (“core Europe”) will remain mostly symbolic and ceremonial. By the end of Merkel IV, we may be looking not just at the impending end of Macron, but at what journalists will call Italexit, with or without Franco-German consent. As a result, the euro—the very cornerstone of German post-2008 prosperity—would change beyond recognition or cease to exist. Unable politically and economically to compensate the losers of the EMU, Germany cannot hope to remain a winner."
Read the whole article and you will be the wiser for it.
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