Political centre at risk as eurozone fears revive

Peter Spiegel, Financial Times, 07.03.2013


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The debate gripping financial markets and European capitals since the Italian elections over whether the eurozone crisis is back contains a troubling supposition: that it never went away.

The existential threat of euro implosion may be gone. But the self-songratulatory mood that has coursed through European officialdom over the past six months coincided with deepening contractions in many economies, unemployment rising to double digits across the region, and sovereign debt levels setting new records. […]

Janis Emmanouilidis, a political analyst at the Brussels-based European Policy Centre, argues it is a recipe for social explosion, forcing voters further into the arms of either relatively benign populists such as Mr Grillo or troubling ones, like Greece's neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, which is now regularly in third place in opinion polls.

"You go and vote and things don't sem to be changing," Mr Emmanouilidis said. "That's what is increasing the appeal of the kinds of people who have easy answers." [...]

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