The inventors of democracy and its greatest 18th century champions both go to the polls this weekend. Greek and French voters will try to elect governments they hope will help release their economies from the grips of the euro zone debt crisis.
While exercising their democratic vote, Europeans will also be contemplating another key issue: their basic economic survival.
That is why the debate about austerity versus growth has become so important.
Financial markets see fiscal discipline as crucial to get the euro zone’s debt burden back to sustainable levels. They are going into the Greek elections favoring triple-A rated bonds over peripheral counterparts.
The premium investors require to hold French debt over German Bunds has also risen in the run-up to the French vote as Francois Hollande became the favourite to win.
But as economies fall deeper into recession and double-digit unemployment hurts prospects for growth, the view that austerity alone will not solve the euro zone debt crisis, seems to be gradually winning over some investors in the bond market – the heart of the crisis.