What is being exposed is a major flaw with Mrs Merkel’s fiscal pact. It is undemocratic. It ties the hands of future governments – and that, of course, was its intention but it doesn’t stop voters opposing further cuts.
In the eurozone, deficits are being reduced. But debt – in many cases – is still growing. Growth is almost non-existent. Recession has returned for countries like Spain and Italy. The gap between the German economy and the southern economies is only widening.
Privately in Brussels there are fears that a revolt against more cuts will draw them in. They have become the enforcers of austerity. Some officials are worrying they will be caught in the backlash. Last week over 30% of French voters supported parties hostile to Brussels. The vote was dismissed as “populism” – which is the default response to most criticism – but they were the votes of real people.
The economist Nouriel Roubini described the eurozone crisis as a “slow-motion train wreck”.
As we go into May, there are signs of a revolt against austerity gathering pace. If it happens it will be a new and unpredictable phase of the eurozone crisis.
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