Tag Archive: France

Mar 28 2013

What’s Cooking: French Onion Soup

Republished from April 6, 2012

So now that you’ve finished dying eggs naturally using onion skins, what do you do with all those onions? Make French Onion Soup, bien sûr!

French onion soup in France is served as the traditional French farmer’s breakfast or the end of the day repast for the late night café and theater crowd. It was made famous in the great open market of Les Halles in Paris where hungry truckers converged from all over France with their fresh produce. On my first visit to Paris in 1966, I made a late night visit to Les Halles with some friends to savor the tradition and practice my very rusty college French. The truckers and waiters in the little café we “invaded” were quite friendly and chuckled as they good heartedly corrected my pronunciation. Needless to say, je parle français bien mieux maintenant. Les Halles was torn down in 1971 and replaced with a modern shopping area, the Forum des Halles. But I digress, we are here for the food.

My favorite recipe is from Bernard Clayton, Jr.’s The Complete Book of Soups and Stews with some variations. It is from a restaurant near the Halles Metro station. M. Calyton’s version uses a hearty homemade beef stock which is time consuming to make. I found that either Swanson’s or College Inn Beef Broth produces a good result, just reduce the salt. The low sodium broth didn’t produce the hearty broth that’s needed to compliment the flavor of the caramelized onions and the cheese.

You will need some “special” equipment for this soup: individual oven-proof bowls, enough to hold 1 1/2 to 2 cups. I have the bowls with a handle and a lid that serve double duty for baked beans, and other soups and stews. You will also need cheesecloth for le sachet d’épices, that’s a spice bag for you Americans ;-), and butcher’s twine or some other cotton twine. Those items can be found in the gadget aisles of most large grocery stores.

Soupe à l’oignon des Halles

 

Jan 16 2013

US Military Expansion: Mali Intervention

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The United States may be withdrawing troops from Afghanistan but what is being ignored by the US traditional MSM is increases US military presence in Africa. The latest action involved the use of drone strikes  assistance to the French against Islamist groups in Northern Mali. While the focus in the news are these armed militant groups, they fail to mention that the area is rich oil and uranium. The Guardian has a a guide to the conflict.

U.S. weighs military support for France’s campaign against Mali militants

by  Anne Gearan, Karen DeYoung and Craig Whitlock, The Washington Post

The Obama administration is considering significant military backing for France’s drive against al-Qaeda-linked militants in Mali, but its support for a major ally could test U.S. legal boundaries and stretch counterterrorism resources in a murky new conflict.

The United States is already providing surveillance and other intelligence help to France and may soon offer military support such as transport or refueling planes, according to U.S. officials, who stressed that any assistance would stop short of sending American combat forces to the volatile West African nation.

At the same time, the administration is navigating a thicket of questions about military support and how far it could go in aiding the French without violating U.S. law or undermining policy objectives.

Direct military aid to Mali is forbidden under U.S. law because the weak rump government there seized power in a coup. U.S. moves are further complicated by uncertainty about which militants would be targeted in an assault.

The loosely affiliated web of Malian militants in the country’s north includes members of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). But other fighters are longtime foes of the Malian government and pose no direct threat to U.S. interests.

From Democracy Now!: Admin Aids French Bombing of Mali After U.S.-Trained Forces Join Rebels in Uranium-Rich Region

France is in its fifth day of an offensive to oust rebels that have held much of Mali’s northern region since March, an area larger than Afghanistan. The strikes have reportedly killed 11 civilians, including three children fleeing the bombardment of a camp near the central town of Konna. The United Nations estimates as many as 30,000 may have been displaced since fighting began last week. The United States has backed the offensive by helping transport French troops and making plans to send drones or other surveillance aircraft. It is aiding a fight against Malian forces that it once helped train, only to see them defect and join the Islamist rebellion. We discuss the latest in Mali with Al Jazeera correspondent May Ying Welsh, who has reported from Mali’s north, and with freelance journalist Hannah Armstrong, a fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs, who joins us from the Malian capital of Bamako.

Who said Pres. Barack Obama wasn’t a war hawk?

h/t TPM for the map. Click on image ot enlarge

Jul 09 2012

The Dragging US Economy

Austerity is not going well for Europe or the US.

U.S. Stocks Post Longest Slump in 1 Month on Europe Woes

by Rita Nazareth and Julia Leite

U.S. stocks fell, giving benchmark indexes the longest slump in more than a month, after a jump in Spanish bond yields above 7 percent intensified concern about Europe’s crisis and as investors awaited Alcoa (AA) Inc.’s results.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 0.2 percent to 1,352.45 at 4 p.m. New York time, according to preliminary closing data, paring an earlier loss of as much as 0.6 percent. The benchmark index dropped 1.6 percent over three days.  [..]

Stocks joined a global slump as the yield on Spain’s 10- year bond rose above the threshold that prompted bailouts in Greece, Ireland and Portugal. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble dismissed a rapid move toward direct bank recapitalization by the European rescue fund, limiting the tools for shoring up Spanish banks as the euro-area crisis simmers.

Stocks Retreat as Spanish 10-Year Bond Yield Exceeds 7%

By Stephen Kirkland and Rita Nazareth

U.S. stocks fell for a third day as Spain’s 10-year debt yield topped 7 percent, fueling concern the debt crisis is worsening, and investors awaited the start of the earnings season. Corn and soybeans surged on forecasts for more dry U.S. weather. Treasuries rose.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.2 percent at 4 p.m. in New York and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.4 percent. Ten-year Spanish yields jumped 11 basis points to 7.06 percent after rising as high as 7.108 percent. The euro climbed 0.2 percent to $1.2319, rebounding from a two-year low of $1.2251. Corn rose as much as 5.8 percent and soybeans jumped to a four-year high. Oil added 1.8 percent to $85.99 a barrel and natural gas rallied as a strike threatened supplies from Norway.

E.U. Seeks to Dispel Doubts About Bank Bailouts

by Paul Geitner and Stephen Casstle

BRUSSELS – With borrowing costs for Spain and Italy climbing again to critical levels, European officials sought Monday to dispel doubts about a deal struck last month to break the “vicious circle” between shaky banks and weak governments.

Spain, suffering through its second recession in three years, was also expected to win more time to rein in its budget deficit even as euro zone finance ministers haggled in Brussels over terms of a bailout for its troubled banks.

Amid the unrelenting market pressure, the European Central Bank reaffirmed that it stood ready to do more to stem the crisis – within the limits of its mandate – while urging euro zone governments to press ahead with closer integration.

Even here in the US, the Federal Reserve admits that they may be reaching there limits on their ability to fix unemployment and are at odds as to what to do next.

Fed’s Lacker Says U.S. May Be Close to Maximum Employment

By Kathleen Hays and Jeff Kearns

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker said the U.S. may already be close to maximum employment from a monetary policy standpoint and that policy makers can’t do much more to cut the jobless rate.

“Given what’s happened to this economy, I think we’re pretty close to maximum employment right now,” Lacker said today in a Bloomberg radio interview on “The Hays Advantage” with Kathleen Hays and Vonnie Quinn. “That might be shocking. That might be surprising.”

Fed policy makers believe the U.S. central bank has limited control over the jobless rate because the employment level is driven by “non-monetary factors that affect the structure and dynamics of the labor market,” according to the January statement from the Federal Open Market Committee. The jobless rate was unchanged at 8.2 percent in June.

Lacker, who has dissented from all four FOMC decisions this year, is at odds with colleagues on what the Fed should do to boost the economy. He said in a June 22 statement that he opposed the FOMC’s $267 billion extension of its Operation Twist program because it may spur inflation and won’t give the economy a significant boost.

San Francisco Fed President John Williams said today the U.S. central bank must maintain “extraordinary vigilance” to see if the slowing economy requires additional monetary stimulus. “If further action is called for, the most effective tool would be additional purchases of longer-maturity securities, including agency mortgage-backed securities,” Williams said in a speech in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho.

While all the PTB debate how to save banks and the markets, the 99% are getting poorer putting an even bigger drag on the economy. For most the recession never ended.

Jun 28 2012

Bailing Out Europe

The heads of state of the EuroZone countries met in Brussels today for a two day summit to  try to come to an agreement on how to bail out two of its biggest members, Italy and Spain:

The 27 government chiefs will discuss buying Spanish and Italian government bonds to bring down borrowing costs that are near euro-era records, Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said. He also proposed that bailout funds buy collateralized government debt in primary markets.

“I’ve come for very rapid solutions to support countries in difficulty on the markets,” French President Francois Hollande told reporters as he arrived in Brussels. Without specifying Spain or Italy, he said they “have made considerable efforts to deal with their public accounts.”

Leaders will consider short-term measures to stem the sovereign debt turmoil as EU President Herman Van Rompuy’s road map to strengthen the bloc’s common currency and financial oversight ran into immediate opposition from Germany. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has become increasingly isolated as Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and Spanish Premier Mariano Rajoy unite to push for quicker action to ease the crisis that emerged in Greece in late 2009.

Apparently all did not go German Chancellor Merkel’s way as she canceled her scheduled evening press conference. Or maybe she was watching her country’s football team get trounced by the Italians.

Euro 2012 Live Blogging: Italy 2 Germany 0

Jun 18 2012

Elections Egypt, France and Greece: Results

The Greeks have decided to stay the course with the center right and have given a victory to the New Democracy Party headed by Antonis Samaras:

New Democracy narrowly beat Syriza, an alliance of radical leftists, winning 29.53% of the vote against 27.12% for the coalition led by Alexis Tsipras. Samaras called the result a victory for Europe.

“The Greek people today voted for the European course of Greece and that we remain in the euro,” Samaras declared in a victory speech. “This is an important moment for Greece and the rest of Europe,” he insisted, saying that Athens would honour the commitments it made in exchange for rescue loans from the EU and IMF. [..]

Across Greece’s divisive political spectrum there was speculation that Samaras would be able to form a viable coalition with the socialist Pasok and the small Democratic left – parties that have also agreed to accept the onerous terms of bailout funds even if they, too, want to renegotiate the package. [..]

Pro-bailout parties now constitute 50% of the electorate. But with the other half also vehemently opposed to the austerity policies dictated by foreign lenders, Greece’s rollercoaster ride is unlikely to end soon. It is now well into its fifth year of recession, with unemployment at a record 22% and worsening levels of poverty leaving thousands of Greeks destitute and homeless. Resistance to further austerity measures is only going to grow.

In France, exit polls indicate that Socialist Party of François Hollande has won a solid majority in both houses of the Parliament, eliminating the need for a coalition government. The conservative National Front has won four seats. The party leader, Marine Le Pen lost her bid for a seat but her 22 year old niece, Marion Marechal-Le Pen is believed to have been elected in the southern region of Carpentras. Former presidential candidate and M. Hollande’s ex-partner, Ségolène Royal has lost her bid for a seat in the National Assembly.

The Socialists and other left-wing parties came out on top in last Sunday’s first round of the vote, winning 46 per cent to 34 per cent for (former president Nicholas) Sarkozy’s UMP party and its allies. [..]

The polls showed France’s Socialists winning between 287 and 330 seats in Sunday’s runoff vote – almost certainly enough to secure a majority in the 577-seat Assembly. [..]

The Greens, who are close allies of the Socialists and already in government, were expected to win up to 20 seats.

The vote was also a key test for Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigrant and anti-EU National Front (FN), which took 13.6 per cent in the first round; far above the four per cent it won in the last parliamentary election in 2007.

There are no results yet for Egypt. But there is news and it is not good for the Egyptian people no matter who wins. This is the report by Leila Fadel and Ernesto Londoño in the Washington Post:

CAIRO – Shortly after polls in Egypt’s landmark presidential vote closed Sunday night, Egypt’s military leaders issued a constitutional decree that gave the armed forces vast powers and appeared to give the presidency a subservient role.

The declaration, published in the official state gazette, establishes that the president will have no control over the military’s budget or leadership and will not be authorized to declare war without the consent of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

The document said the military would soon appoint a body to draft a new constitution, which would be put to a public referendum within three months. Once a new charter is in place, an election will be held to chose a parliament that will replace the Islamist-dominated one dissolved Thursday by the country’s top court.

Currently, exit polls show Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi, ahead of former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq in the presidential runoff vote.

Jun 17 2012

Elections Egypt, France and Greece

The Big Three elections that are taking place this weekend in Egypt, France and Greece. The outcome of these elections will not only effect the people of those countries but will have global impact as well.

In Egypt, the second day of voting for president is expected to be heavier than yesterday. Many Egyptians, not trusting the safety of their ballots held overnight, decided to hold off and vote today. Their choices are between between a conservative Islamist, Mohamed Morsi, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hosni Mubarak’s former prime minister and long time friend, Ahmed Shafiq.

The prevailing mood among voters was one of deep anxiety over the future, tinged with bitterness that their revolution had stalled. Moreover, there was a sense of voting fatigue, and fears that no matter who won, street protests would erupt again.

Egyptians have gone to the polls multiple times since Mubarak’s fall on 11 February 2011: a referendum early last year, then three months of multi-round parliamentary elections that began in November, and the first round of presidential elections last month. [..]

The election is supposed to be the last stop in a turbulent transition overseen by the military generals. But even if they nominally hand over some powers to the winner, they will still hold the upper hand over the next president.

The generals are likely to issue an interim constitution defining the president’s authority while they retain their hold on legislative powers, and they will probably appoint a panel to write the permanent constitution.

Since the Mubarak packed Egyptian Supreme Court declared the parliamentary elections unconstitutional and dissolved parliament, the military has imposed martial law. Without a parliament, military council and the new president will get to write the constitution. This is not what the Egyptian people took to the streets planned or want. As Egyptian activist Mona Eltahawy said on Twitter: the choice is between the fascists with guns or the fascist with god.

In France, parliamentary elections are today. French citizens living outside France voted yesterday at consulates around the world. These elections will determine how much clout newly elected President François Hollande’s socialist government will have to get France and Europe out of the economic doldrums with a stimulus package from the EU. Much depends on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and just how much she will budge. So far, despite her party’s losses in state elections, it looks like she has dug her heels in forcing unwanted, and admittedly counterproductive, austerity measures on everyone.

The Socialists need 289 MPs in the 577-seat house for an absolute majority, which would allow Hollande to implement his manifesto with relative ease. The broad French left dominated the first-round vote on 10 June, and polls suggest a Socialist absolute majority is possible, though not a certainty.

Even if Hollande’s party does not quite win a majority alone, it looks likely to be able to make up the numbers by forming a partnership with the Greens, with whom it has an electoral accord. This would avoid Hollande having to depend on more hardline leftists who oppose key elements of his programme.

Much will depend on voter turnout. This is the fourth election in France in two months, after the two-round presidential race. Turnout in the first-round parliamentary vote on 10 June was 57%, the lowest since 1958.

One of the key issues is whether the far-right Front National can win seats and sit in parliament for the first time since 1986. The last FN deputy was elected in 1997, but the result was later annulled over funding irregularities.

And probably the most important election is taking place in Greece where a win for the far left Syriza Party may drastically change the austerity policies that have created a humanitarian crisis.

The Guardian has documented the humanitarian catastrophe that followed. Soup kitchens for the middle class, a huge jump in homelessness and mental disease, daily suicides, lack of basic medicines, cancer patients turned away from pharmacies, and hospitals ceasing operation because of a lack of basic supplies. The question on Sunday is not between the euro and the drachma, but between the continuation of these policies or salvation from the greatest destruction a people have experienced in peacetime. If something is leading to the exit from the euro, a probable collapse of the eurozone and a possible world crisis of 1930s magnitude, is not the Syriza policies but extreme austerity and mad economic recipes.

Syriza is totally committed to the eurozone. Its manifesto promises an immediate repeal of all laws enacted by the Greek government after the bailouts. Some of the measures affecting the private sector were never demanded by the troika – the EU, IMF and the European Central Bank – and were introduced by the establishment parties. After that, negotiations will start for a substantial reduction of the debt, which may be followed by a moratorium on servicing the debt until the economy starts growing again.

In a highly symbolic move, the minimum wage and unemployment benefit will return to their pre-austerity levels. Syriza’s anti-austerity and pro-Europe policies represent the best interests of the Greek people.

Many of the results will be available later today, some later in the week since most of these elections are done with paper ballots which take time to count and confirm. We will bring the results and analysis of their impact as they are posted.

May 25 2012

EU Split Over Euro Bonds

This was predictable:

Germany and France clash over eurobonds at summit

French president François Hollande marks his Brussels debut by challenging chancellor Angela Merkel over bailout

A special EU summit marking the debut of France’s President François Hollande saw him challenge Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, on the euro, arguing that the pooling of eurozone debt liability – eurobonds – had to be retained as an option for saving the currency. Merkel has ruled out eurobonds as illegal under current EU law.

Hollande told the dinner of 27 leaders that he wanted to see eurobonds established, while conceding that this would take time, witnesses at the talks said.

Merkel responded that this was nigh-on impossible since it would require changes to the German constitution and around 10 separate legal changes, the sources said.

There was no policy breakthrough at the summit, rather a reiteration by leaders of known positions. Any decisions were postponed until the end of next month after French and Greek parliamentary elections on 17 June.

Illegal? Require changes? Well, they created this mess by changing laws and constitutions, now they need to fix it by changing the laws and the EU constitution. Chancellor Merkel sounds more and more like George W. Bush, “it’s hard work” (read: I don’t want to do this). The Euro Zone nations can’t have their cake and eat it, too. They want Greece to to stay in the Euro Zone but they want them to accept the austerity agreement that the Greeks have clearly rejected.

In a New York Times Op-Ed, Amartya Sen, a Nobel laureate and a professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard, points out that the EU economic crisis is a road to hell paved with good intentions:

There are two reasons for this.

First, intentions can be respectable without being clearheaded, and the foundations of the current austerity policy, combined with the rigidities of Europe’s monetary union (in the absence of fiscal union), have hardly been a model of cogency and sagacity. Second, an intention that is fine on its own can conflict with a more urgent priority – in this case, the preservation of a democratic Europe that is concerned about societal well-being. These are values for which Europe has fought, over many decades. [..]

Europe cannot revive itself without addressing two areas of political legitimacy. First, Europe cannot hand itself over to the unilateral views – or good intentions – of experts without public reasoning and informed consent of its citizens. Given the transparent disdain for the public, it is no surprise that in election after election the public has shown its dissatisfaction by voting out incumbents.

Second, both democracy and the chance of creating good policy are undermined when ineffective and blatantly unjust policies are dictated by leaders. The obvious failure of the austerity mandates imposed so far has undermined not only public participation – a value in itself – but also the possibility of arriving at a sensible, and sensibly timed, solution.

This is a surely a far cry from the “united democratic Europe” that the pioneers of European unity sought.

As David Dayen said, “we’re are essentially in a holding pattern” until the Greek and French Parliament elections on June 17. Please, do not hold your breath for a good solution, no matter what you may think a good solution is. Not everyone is going to be happy at the end of this. Let’s hope it’s the austerians who are unhappiest.

May 19 2012

Austerity?

Which European leader is serious about economic recovery?

Merkel gives self and ministers pay rise

Merkel, her ministers and their parliamentary secretaries of state will see their wages rise in three stages between now and August 2013, until they all get 5.7 percent more. It is the first pay raise that the German cabinet has taken in twelve years. [..]

She has been the chief advocate of austerity in the eurozone during the debt crisis, earning her criticism from some quarters, notably Greece and more recently France, whose new leader Francois Hollande wants to focus on growth.

As opposed to this:

France Hollande: Ayrault government takes pay cut

France’s new government has held its first cabinet meeting and announced a 30% pay cut for President François Hollande and all his ministers.

A campaign promise, the cut reduces Mr Hollande’s monthly salary from 21,300 euros to 14,910 (£12,000; $19,000).

The cut contrasts sharply with predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to increase his pay on entering office.

Austerity?

H/t Chris in Paris @ AMERICAblog

May 09 2012

So Goes Greece, So Goes the Euro?

Greek, French and German voters went to the polls this past weekend and rejected pretty much told the European leaders they were very unhappy with the austerity measures that were being forced on them to bail out European banks. It took until yesterday for the world markets to react to this new reality with the Dow closing below its inflated 13,000 mark. Germany, the chief cheerleader for austerity, is not happy with France and very displeased with the new Greek leadership that blithely told Germany what to do with its austerity measures:

Alexis Tsipras, whose bloc came second in Sunday’s vote, said Greek voters had “clearly nullified the loan agreement”. [..]

The European Commission and Germany say countries must stick to budget cuts.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Tuesday: “What member states have to do is be consistent, implementing the policies that they have agreed.”  [..]

Mr Tsipras made his position clear to reporters in a five-point plan:

 

  • Cancelling the bailout terms, notably laws that further cut wages and pensions
  • Scrapping laws that abolish workers rights, particularly a law abolishing collective labour agreements due to come into effect on 15 May
  • Promoting changes to deepen democracy and social justice
  • Investigating Greece’s banking system which received almost 200bn euros of public money
  • Setting up an international committee to find out the causes of Greece’s public deficit and putting on hold all debt servicing

It looks increasingly like the Greeks will be abandoning the Euro, it’s just a matter of when:

“Germans are now predominantly of the opinion that they would be better off if Greece left the euro zone,” said Carsten Hefeker, a professor of economics and an expert on the euro at the University of Siegen. “If the country really is continuing on the path they are taking now, it would be hard to justify keeping them in. How do you deal with a country that says we don’t want to keep any of the commitments we have made?” [..]

Perhaps the one card Greece has to play is the danger its exit could pose to other, much larger members like Spain and Italy, with far greater consequences. If Greece were pushed out, Mr. Hefeker said, the bond markets would start betting on the next country to be kicked out. “Then Spain or Italy would be put under pressure, and the danger would be of the whole euro zone collapsing,” he said.

There are few options are open for the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund which is holding most of Greece’s debt and easing the threat to the banks.

First, the so-called “troika” could release just enough funds to keep the government running until the political situation stabilizes;

The terms of the agreement could be renegotiated with the creditors:

Or, lastly, the “troika” could just refuse to give Greece any money, as the IMF did over 10 years ago when Argentina faced similar economic crisis. This actually turned out well for Argentina over a shorter recovery than is predicted for Greece under the current terms.

Perhaps it is past time for Greece to go it on its own and let the Eu continue the blood letting without them.

May 06 2012

François Hollande Est le Président de France

“Europe is watching us, I am sure that when the result was announced, in many European countries there was relief, hope and the notion that finally austerity can no longer be the only option.

“And this is the mission that is now mine — to give the European project a dimension of growth, employment, prosperity, in short, a future. This is what I will say as soon as possible to our European partners and first of all to Germany, in the name of the friendship that links us and in the name of our shared responsibility.”

“We are not just any country on the planet, just any nation in the world, we are France.”

~François Hollande, President-elect of France~

François Hollande is the new President of France defeating Nicholas Sarkozy. With half the votes counted, M. Hollande won a narrow victory with 50.8% to Sarkozy’s 49.2%, as per the French Interior minister. According to exit polls, the vote is closer to 52% for M. Hollande.

Crowds roared at the center-left candidate’s campaign headquarters as the exit poll results came out Sunday evening.

“Many people have been waiting for this moment for many long years. Others, younger, have never known such a time. … I am proud to be capable to bring about hope again,” Hollande said in his victory speech.

Celebratory car horns blared along the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

“It’s a great night, full of joy for so many young people all across the country,” said Thierry Marchal-Beck, president of the Movement of Young Socialists.

Hollande will be the nation’s first left-wing president since Francois Mitterrand left office in 1995.

His victory and the elections in Greece and Germany are sending economic shock waves through Europe:

François Hollande’s election threw down the gauntlet to Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, who has railroaded the eurozone into agreeing a new “fiskalpakt” treaty enshrining Germany’s austerity doctrine.

The economic doctrine of austerity, to cut the burden of state spending to free up the economy, has ruled supreme with the support all of Europe’s leaders, the European Union and financial markets.

But political leaders were on Sunday night conceding the consensus had been shattered beyond repair.

With Europe’s economies plunging further into recession and as unemployment in the eurozone breaks record levels, voters demands for a new approach had finally become to great to ignore.

The popular backlash to EU imposed austerity to the centrist New Democracy and Socialist parties in Greece threatens the existence of the euro itself.

While in Germany, Chancellor Merkel was sent a message from German voters:

Exit polls by German broadcaster ARD put Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats at 30.5 per cent, just one per cent more than the left-wing Social Democrats.

But the Free Democrats, Mrs Merkel’s ailing coalition ally, scored a lowly 8.5 per cent, meaning that the coalition that has ruled the rural state on the Danish border since 2009 faces the prospect of being unseated.

Experts predict that the Social Democrats will try to cobble a coalition together with the Greens, the third biggest party, in order to take control of the state. [..]

While the Free Democrats appears to have avoided the humiliation of being wiped out all together in Schleswig-Holstein the continuing unpopularity of the party could force Mrs Merkel to search for a new coalition partner come next year’s federal elections.

I don’t think this is a surprise to most Europeans. It should be a clear message to the leaders of countries who are considering only austerity measures as a solution to debt.

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