German Chancellor Angela Merkel suffered a signficant blow yesterday when German's biggest region decisively rejected her austerity policies.
Her Christian Democrats suffered a heavy defeat in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, with the Social Democrats winning enough votes to continue a stable coalition with the Greens
This is bad news for Mrs Merkel who is already facing a difficult time following Nicolas Sarkozy's defeat by socialist Francois Hollande in the French elections.
Before that defeat, Germany and France were displaying a united front over the austerity measures for Europe in the current financial difficulties. But now M Hollande wants to renegotiate the fiscal pact to allow higher spending leftist policies in the EU.
"I don't like to say 'we told you so' but, we told you so," said controversial historian and academic Ken Lucid.
"I warned Frau Merkel and M Sarkozy months ago that trying to dominate Europe - as both their countries have tried to do separately over the centuries - would cost them dear.
"Well, even teaming up to tell everyone else what to do has done for both of them. Sarko's out and Angela's been given a right kick up the you-know-what by her country's largest region."
Prof Lucid, Herodotus Chair of History at Hounslow University, added: "Anyway, good for Westphalia - well done there. Had a very nice holiday in the Rhineland once and I've always had a soft spot for the place that put its name to the end of 30 Years' War!"