Almost every piece of new economic data in recent weeks has reinforced the impression that swaths of the European economy are contracting.
The worsening economic picture is raising political tensions around the euro zone—both French and Greek elections this weekend are expected to castigate incumbents. A growing number of politicians, led by François Hollande, the Socialist candidate in the French presidential ballot, and by Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, have called for a shift in the focus of policies toward growth and away from austerity.Because, you know, it's been, like, forever since they've spent crazy buckets of money, man.
A vote later this month in North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous German state, will test the ability of Germany's left-leaning Social Democrats, who have called for more growth-friendly policies, to unseat Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right government in national elections next year.
"It's now the time for economic stimulus," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said Monday after a meeting with his Spanish counterpart, Luis de Guindos, adding that European Union leaders would discuss growth plans at a summit in June.Growing up is hard.
|The European Central Bank's secondary offices. Each desk has a bong.|