George Papandreou in Greece two weeks ago, the EU is now left with only two centre-left governments - Denmark and Austria.
The already dwindling left was already not in a good position, with just five centre-left governments out of the 27 EU states at the beginning of the year. Four of those governments have since fallen, including the collapse of the Slovenian government in September (new elections, which the Left is certain to lose, will be held next month). Only the Austrian government has survived, and they were joined by the Danish social democrats who won a trend-defying election in September. Cyprus, which has a communist (but in truth more nationalist) government, does not sit with the centre-right grouping in Europe.
At the same time, five governments now have provisional or technocratic governments - effectively under the control of the markets and the dominant centre-right governments of Europe. The presidencies of the three institutions of EU governance - the commission, the parliament and the council - are all held by the centre-right. The situation is unprecedented. The irony is, at this time of crisis when Europe seems to be tearing itself apart, the governments of Europe have never been so ideologically united - at least in terms of the left-right divide.
looking to Zapatero when Spain held the rotating presidency in 2009.
But Zapatero never sought out a leadership role at European level, and so far Thorning-Schmidt also seems hesitant to take up the mantle. Even if Denmark holds the presidency, it would be hard for them to forcefully put forward the positions of the European left when that only represents the governments of two small countries.
But that could all change depending on the results of the French election in May of next year. Sarkozy's poll numbers are plunging lower by the day, and his loss of the French senate to the left in September seemed a harbinger of things to come. If Socialist candidate Francois Hollande wins in May it would fundamentally change the European political landscape and could reverse the left's decline. With the support of the government of the EU's second largest country, Denmark may feel more confident in promoting a Leftist solution to the European crisis.
But if Hollande loses and Sarkozy is elected for a second term, it is hard to see the European left regaining relevance again any time soon.