July 8, 2010
WHEN Europeans fear for their jobs and their savings, when their governments and companies cannot easily borrow money, when banks fail and the single currency trembles, then the European Union is facing not just an economic crisis, but a political crisis, as well. And, so far, Europe’s leaders have not been equal to the threat. Over the past 18 months they have mostly taken refuge in denial and bluster, punctuated by bickering and by heaping blame on financial markets. Despite a recent bout of austerity and the 11th-hour launch of a vast bail-out fund for its most fragile economies, Europe seems a diminished force in the world.