From trading floors to polling stations to the streets of cities across Europe, the message appears increasingly to be that countries cannot cut their way to fiscal health. They need growth, too.
Taking advantage of growing voter outrage, fringe parties like the Greek ultranationalist group Golden Dawn and France’s far-right National Front, which won nearly one in five votes Sunday, are gaining strength, evoking comparisons to the Weimar era, which ushered the Nazi Party into power.
“The formula is not working, and everyone is now talking about whether austerity is the only solution,” said Jordi Vaquer i Fanés, a political scientist and director of the Barcelona Center for International Affairs in Spain. “Does this mean that [Angela] Merkel has lost completely? No. But it does mean that the very nature of the debate about the euro-zone crisis is changing.”