From Germany: Fear of isolation
24 April 2012
Süddeutsche Zeitung, Handelsblatt
“Is Europe failing?” wonders Handelsblatt, which voices its concern over the increasing power of the far right, at a time when the Front National won 18% in the first round of the French presidential election, and Geert Wilders has brought down the Dutch government by refusing to support its austerity package. Like other newspapers in the German press, the business daily notes that Germany has begun to lose its political allies amidst a growing crisis of confidence in the country’s European policy –
The rise of the far right shows that many countries are still unable to offer an appropriate response to simplistic solutions proposed by populists. Voters continue to be unaffected by the language of the EU and national governments, but they are more than willing to accept the populists’ facile slogans.
On a more pragmatic level, this trend is bad news for Angela Merkel, as Süddeutsche Zeitung points out –
The fall of the Rutte administration in the Netherlands is a bitter blow for the German government, which has lost a major ally in the drive for more austerity. And Angela Merkel could soon lose her most powerful supporter. The French President has lost the first round of voting in the presidential election to challenger François Hollande [...]. Many Spaniards are crossing their fingers in the hope for a socialist win in France. [...] And a similar sentiment prevails in Italy. With this in mind, the amount of time attributed to the two countries to reduce their spending will not change much.