Bavaria’s CSU has been held hostage to economic fortune, but could also be accused of making inflammatory decisions as the global credit crisis worsened. It instituted an austerity plan – freezing social spending while bailing out the state bank. That institution may well need more cash injections if the Lehman Brothers collapse has made as much of a dent as many fear.
Unemployment in Bavaria remains below the national average, and the state economy is still larger than that of all but six EU countries. But at the same time, salaries are still reasonably low at 400 euros a week.
Under former leader Edmund Stoiber, who stepped down last year, the state’s farmers watched the usual EU subsidies being funnelled to Eastern Europe and big business being moved in – then sometimes failing. Bavaria’s traditional image is certainly under threat. And the CSU may be paying/have paid the price for change.