Schroeder’s Social Democrats take a large hit in elections in the state of Saarland. They lose 14% of the vote; down to 30% from 44%, five years ago. This "was just the latest in a series of state election defeats for the Social Democrats since he won re-election two years ago. In elections to the European Parliament in June, the Social Democrats had their worst showing in a national ballot since World War II." Many fear that Schroeder will backtrack on his promises to cut welfare benefits, thereby plunging the country into a crisis. And note this on the looming crisis in both Germany and France. "With all eyes fixed on the American presidential elections, the scale of the looming crisis in France and Germany has gone largely unremarked. But it may so change the political geography of Europe that British arguments for and against the EU will be made redundant. A pervasive sense of decline in both countries, only partially justified but none the less virulent, is destabilising not just the structures of the EU - but the political systems of France and Germany." It could turn ugly.