Germany & France

by Andrew Stuttaford

All the signs are that the second—and final—round of the French presidential election will be won by the socialist candidate, François Hollande. He has indicated that he wants to add a “growth” component to the measures being taken to extricate the euro zone from its current mess. As a practical matter that will probably mean less than his rhetoric currently suggests (and it is unlikely to make much difference anyway). Chancellor Merkel, still lashed to the euro’s broken mast, will likely find some way to accommodate him.

But if and when she does, it will be with the support of Germany’s political class, not its people.

Open Europe yesterday published this summary of recent poll data:

An Infratest Dimap poll for ARD and Die Welt found that 55% of Germans support Angela Merkel’s handling of the eurozone crisis via austerity and budgetary discipline, compared with 33% who would prefer an economic stimulus package. Merkel’s policy is also supported by a majority of voters of every main German political party, with the exception of Die Linke [a party with, ahem, origins in the East German communist party].

Translation: German voters still do not want to pick up the tab for a speculative single currency they never wanted in the first place. Yet their politicians will probably keep insisting that that’s what they should do, and all in the name of a bogus, imposed and counter-productive European “solidarity” that diminishingly few Europeans actually seem to feel.