Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union had its vote drop by 8% in provincial elections on 13 May in Germany’s most populous state, Nordrhein-Westfalen.
The SPD (equivalent of the Labour Party) gained 5%, and the SPD/Green coalition in Nordrhein-Westfalen now has a majority where before the election it was a minority government.
The maverick Pirate Party went up from 2% to 8%, and, maybe in part as a result, the leftish party Die Linke went down from 6% to 3%.
This result will increase the pressure on Merkel to modify the EU’s hard-neoliberal policy by adding in some “growth initiatives”.
Spain nationalises bank
On 10 May the Spanish government nationalised Bankia, a conglomerate bank formed in 2010 by merging a large number of smaller banks which had suffered from the crash of property prices, and the going-bad of many property loans, in Spain.
Since the extent by which Spanish government bonds trade at lower prices than bonds of the same face-value issued by Germany or other financially-stronger states has grown to its biggest-ever, bigger even than before the last EU “rescue” measures in late 2011.
Many economists think it likely that Spain will fall into a similar spiral to Greece: harsh cuts will depress the whole economy, thus depress government tax revenues, and thus make the government’s debt problem and lack of creditworthiness even worse.