The presidential elections in France, the legislative elections in Greece, and the regional elections in Germany together mark a turning point for the EU. The results make clear that, despite their differences, European voters all share a common view that current leaders are not delivering. In France and Greece, voters want an end to unending austerity that doesn’t work.
But whereas France’s second round of the Presidential elections brought into power a Socialist government that can govern, and govern to the center, Greece’s election put into place a legislature even more divided than the first. The presence of extremist parties on the right and the left also cast further doubts on the country’s governability. The German elections, with the rise of the Pirates party and the defeat of the Liberal Democrats, Merkel’s coalition partner, suggest that even voters in this country are fed up with policies that don’t work.
Let us hope that the new French President Hollande will be able to work sufficiently well with the continuing German Chancellor Merkel to produce new policies that will convince the markets that the Eurozone will finally do enough to promote growth, with all the backstops necessary, whatever happens with Greece.
Voter Anger Sweeps France (Wall Street Journal 5/7/12)