Political leaders in Europe who have tied their fortunes to the creation of the new EU superstate are now dismissing the growing sentiment against the metastasizing, power-hungry bureaucracy in Brussels as “whims of changing opinion polls or referendums.” That’s from German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who finds it increasingly difficult to bully his countrymen into the deal. Here’s how a story in Der Spiegel describes the mood of voters:

Citizens are quickly becoming wary of the transfer of power to a largely anonymous authority in Brussels — an authority with limited legitimacy that claims to have a better handle on what is good for Poles, Germans or the Portuguese than the Poles, Germans and the Portuguese themselves. Europeans are rebelling against their own governments, which, at least according to popular perception, are allowing themselves to be led around by the nose by the EU’s centralized power.

An explosive mix of fear, anger and frustration with Europe is building, especially in Germany and France. And with regional elections approaching in Germany and the European constitution referendum scheduled for the end of the month in France, it’s quite possible that these emotions will soon come to a head.