Pigeons fly in front of the Euro sculpture at the old European Central Bank bulding in Frankfurt, Germany, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
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Slowly but surely, the economic policy tide in Europe is turning, and it may only be a matter of time before Germany is swept up. By adding its voice this week to the long list of institutions pressing Germany to spend more, the European Commission left Berlin looking more isolated and out-of-step than at any time since the outbreak of the global financial crisis nearly a decade ago.Predictably, the Commission's call for a "significantly more positive fiscal stance" in the euro area was shot down by Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and the conservative media establishment in Germany.By this time next year, the episode may be looked back upon as the first step toward a broader change in Europe's economic approach, away from the austerity-first stance pushed successfully by Berlin for many years.The real game-changer could be the German election in the autumn of next year and the fate of Schaeuble, the personification of Germany's rule-based restrictive approach to fiscal policy.One senior official who served in both grand coalitions said the lessons of the past years would push Merkel's next coalition partner to take the Finance Ministry instead of the Foreign Ministry, the traditional first choice.
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