Merkel’s new Grand Coalition

Not to be outdone by Russia’s electoral shenanigans, Der Spiegel reports that German chancellor Angela Merkel has formed a broad coalition to oppose frontrunning French presidential candidate François Hollande.  The coalition includes not only British prime minister David Cameron, who most recently snubbed Hollande on a visit to London, but also Italian prime minister Mario Monti and Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy.

Although each of the four European leaders is more or less of the center-right, the greater sin is Hollande’s opposition to the austerity measures underlying last December’s EU-wide fiscal compact, not his innate leftism.

With polls showing Hollande still the overwhelming favorite to defeat French president Nicolas Sarkozy in the second-round runoff in May, I wonder whether Monti and Rajoy, who are presiding over two countries with high employment — even before the bite of austerity has yet to show its full force — will still be singing from the Merkel hymnbook later this year.

The new Grand Coalition meeting at its secret conclave:

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