COMMENT

Scrapping the EU recipe

By Nikos Xydakis

Rapid developments across the European Union are lending Greece?s parliamentary elections a fresh dimension, mainly as regards to the political message that Greek voters will send to their European peers.

A shift in the agenda is evident: recommendations for fiscal discipline and austerity are gradually being replaced by calls for measures designed to boost growth and contain recession.

Presidential elections in France are a first sign that something is changing: Regardless of who wins the second round of the vote, Paris appears reluctant to adopt the demands for fiscal orthodoxy coming from Berlin -- even less so should socialist candidate Francois Hollande beat Nicolas Sarkozy in the runoff vote.

A second sign is Spain?s ailing economy. Seriously damaged by sky-high unemployment and soaring borrowing rates, the Iberian nation on Friday saw its credit rating slashed. The downgrade by Standard

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