German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron attend welcome ceremony at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
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Half a year ago, the political stars seemed perfectly aligned for a deep reform of the European Union and its euro currency.Germany now faces months of political limbo that will narrow an already tight window for agreeing reforms of eurozone governance and EU defense and asylum policies.Should Germany be forced to hold new elections, its partners may have to wait until next summer for a government to take form. By then, Europe will be entering crunch time in its Brexit negotiations with Britain, preparing for sensitive discussions on a long-term EU budget and gearing up for the election of a new European Parliament.Eurozone leaders were due to begin a six-month discussion on closer integration of their 19-nation currency bloc next month at a special summit in Brussels. Still, hopes that the two political earthquakes of 2016 – Britain's decision to leave the EU and the election of U.S. President Donald Trump – might shock European capitals into bold reforms, once elections in the Netherlands, France, Germany and Austria were out of the way, are fading.Merkel appeared to rule out a minority government Monday.
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