German Chancellor Angela Merkel made all the right gestures Monday: the obligatory phone call congratulating French President-elect Francois Hollande. She vowed that the two will "work together well and intensively." And she invited Hollande to Berlin after his inauguration and said she would welcome him "with open arms."
But clearly the French election results mark a setback for Merkel and her goal of solving Europe's economic crisis with financial austerity.
Europe's unsettled political climate after the weekend elections in France and Greece raise one obvious question: What's next?
The elections, in which French President Nicolas Sarkozy was defeated and Greece's major political parties struggled to form a governing coalition, have raised fears about the political and economic stability of the European Union. Some potential scenarios coming out of the elections:
As we've reported, Vladimir Putin's return to Russia's presidency was fraught with drama. But a disputed parliamentary election and many unprecedented protests later, Putin took the oath of office for a third time today.
Putin took the oath amid protests. The New York Times reports 300 were detained, following the round up of 400 detained after a surprisingly large anti-Putin demonstration popped up on Sunday.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and a number of Greek incumbents in parliament became the latest victims of growing frustration among voters across Europe over the ongoing debt crisis and widespread austerity measures. President-elect Francois Hollande has promised France a "fresh start."