It is indicative of how much things have changed in Europe in recent years that the outcome of the general election in
last weekend is likely to have a much more profound effect on Portugal than the elections to be held throughout
this coming Sunday. Portugal
Commentators in Berlin say the euro crisis played only a marginal role in the German election campaign, the first in that country since the start of the eurozone crisis, but it is expected to continue to be very high on Angela Merkel’s agenda during her fourth term in office.
Dubbed by some the “Queen of Austerity”, by others the “Queen of Europe,” the German chancellor is expected to stay on track without making any sudden changes of policy on
Europe. But if the
centre-left Social Democrats join her conservative Christian Democrats in a
grand coalition government, they may push for a softer austerity program for
struggling euro states like Portugal
and . Greece
The triumph of the Christian Democrats met with a mixed reaction in
elsewhere in the European Union. It varied from those who see Portugal Germany as the saviour of the beleaguered eurozone,
to those who believe it is trying to take control of Europe
economically in a way it failed to do militarily.
While the chants of “Angie!” and “Mutti” (mother) were still ringing out among her celebrating supporters at home, Chancellor Merkel’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, said the victory should be reassuring, not worrying, to Europeans.
“We will remain reliable in the role of stability anchor and the growth motor of
Europe….. continues to have an
important leadership responsibility,” said Schäuble. Germany
The focus in
is on whether the troika will relax the 2014 budget deficit target that sparked
a political crisis in June and resulted in immense damage to investor
The S&P credit rating agency say there is an increased likelihood that
might need a second bailout. Portugal
Voters will go to the polls on Sunday in local elections in every municipality across the country with little optimism that their preferred candidates will make any difference to the bigger picture.