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What the French elections mean for the euro zone

It's the economy, stupid! Problem is, the French don't want to talk about it.

That reflects another reality the winner will have to come to terms with on May 6: the euro crisis has clearly revealed that the Franco-German partnership that was the driving force behind the European Union is no longer a marriage of equals.

"It's hard to resist the temptation to compare the decadence or the disorientation of France with the personalities of the presidential candidates," columnist Miguel Angel Bastenier wrote Tuesday in the Spanish daily El Pais. "If there are any remnants of that partnership that is supposed to run the European Union ... it's only because Berlin finds it more convenient to have somebody to share the burden of dealing with the crisis."