Angela Merkel drops her guard: As the battle to replace her heats up, the German chancellor is finally speaking her mind

Angela Merkel’s enthusiastic endorsement of France’s call for a European army last week has left Germany wondering if her decision to name a date for her departure has freed the notoriously cautious chancellor to speak her mind.

Mrs Merkel has spent the past year remorselessly deadbatting all Emmanuel Macron’s proposals for European Union reform — to the extent that the French president, who had hoped to put the Franco-German alliance back at the heart of the EU, is said to be deeply frustrated.

But on Tuesday she backed Mr Macron’s call for a European army in a speech to the European parliament even as Donald Trump laid into the French president over it on Twitter.

“The times when we could rely…