To paraphrase, Winston Churchill, Britain has always been “with Europe but not of it”. All it ever wanted was a share in a common market. Instead, it found itself caught up in the creation of new kind of political order. The consequence was Brexit. Now Britain is neither of nor with Europe.
On the evening of 7 May, Emmanuel Macron walked, almost marched, slowly across the courtyard of the Louvre to make his first speech as the President elect of the French Fifth Republic. He did so not, as others would have done, to the music of the “Marseillaise” but to the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – the “Ode to Joy”, the anthem of the European Union. It was, wrote Natalie Nougayrède in the Guardian, “the most meaningful, inspiring symbol Macron could choose”.