The Socialist leader Francois Hollande won the first round of French presidential elections and is now the favorite to win the second and final round on May 6th. Polls show him leading Sarkozy by a wide 10% margin (55% vs. 45%).
And if Parisian taxi drivers can be a reliable prediction source, Hollande is definitely going to win (smile)... I was in Paris last weekend and one particular gentleman was a voluble Hollande supporter (oh monsieur, Sarkozy no good pour la peuple, les pauvres, you oonderstaand?).
And if France is not enough, parliamentary elections are being held in Greece on the same day. For the past 40 years the country's two main parties were used to getting a combined 80-85% of the total votes, counting on graft, corruption and paternalism. No more: the crisis has stripped them bare and made their horrible mismanagement apparent to everyone; they will be lucky to get even 40% together. The Greek Parliament may end up representing 8 or even 10 parties, a unique situation in its modern history (4-5 parties is usual).
Depending on the total number of parties that finally make the cut (a minimum 3% is needed for entry), anything from 5 to 7 of them will be either on the extreme left (there is still a Stalinist Communist Party in existence) or the extreme right (a fascist fringe that used to poll 0.2% is now showing up at 5%). Not a happy turn of events, because all of them want Greece to get out of the eurozone, one way or the other.
The point is this: If France and Germany don't see eye to eye on practical matters very soon (say, by June), then the EU will fall apart for want of a cohesive substance more than the hot air constantly emanating from Brussels.
What this may be? A firm commitment to a common fiscal policy. I can't emphasize it enough: a common monetary policy is nonsense without a common fiscal policy. One-legged creatures can't run.