France and Greece are not the only nations in which the forces of austerity suffered a setback. The party of Angela Merkel, the champion of government cost cuts across Europe, gave up ground in local elections. Merkel’s coalition appears to have lost its majority in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein. National elections in Germany are a year away.
Merkel does not have much time to calm the voters of her own country, many of whom are angry that their taxes have gone indirectly to bail out Greece. Merkel, who is not likely to be backed down from her austerity stance against the new French government and forces in Greece, may be in trouble for her decisions to participate in bailouts at all.