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Europe’s Trapped Politics

PARIS – When the last European Parliament election was held, in 2009, it seemed that Europe’s citizens were all facing the same dangers. Across the continent, governments were busy coping with the consequences of the global crisis that had erupted the year before. Five years later, on the eve of another European Parliament election, the situation could not be more different.

Back in 2009, Europe faced a widely shared imperative to rescue distressed banks, fight recession, and contain a sharp rise in unemployment. There was also unity on a policy strategy: emergency stimulus, followed by fiscal consolidation.