The continuing fragility of the eurozone was revealed by this weekend’s Italian general elections. The surprise success of a comedian, Beppe Grillo, unnerved markets enough that Italian bond yields shot up overnight and depressed the euro’s value.
European leaders had to come out and make reassuring noises. And this was even before the nature of the new Italian government and its policies was clear. Yet the vote did send a troubling message about the public mood in Europe. The centre-left coalition of Pier Luigi Bersani won a slim majority in the lower house.
The combined vote of Mr Grillo and the conservative candidate, Silvio Berlusconi, however, indicated a troubling majority of Italian voters supported an end to continuing economic austerity. The only candidate who backed the present regime of fiscal prudence was the outgoing Mario Monti and he received barely 10% of the vote.