Friday, December 30, 2011

Europe's Leaders May Need History Lesson

by Stephen Fidler

Wall Street Journal

December 30, 2011

Given their record to date, is there any reason for faith that Europe's leaders will succeed in 2012 in doing what they signally failed to do in 2011 and stem the crisis that now threatens the existence of the euro zone?

The auguries aren't good. The culmination of their work over the year, as the Journal's reconstructions published over the past two days have shown, is to have guided a debt crisis in three small economies into a survival struggle for the single currency.

Many of those players have already left the political stage: Brian Cowen, José Sócrates, George Papandreou, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Silvio Berlusconi.

Technocrats rule troublesome Greece and Italy, and governments with new mandates have taken over in Spain, Ireland and Portugal. But pessimism over the future of the euro and the ability of governments to boss events appears close to an all-time high.

As this column pointed out last week, the leaders' muddling-through isn't yet doomed to failure. And perhaps we whose job it is to attend on serial summits and ministerial meetings invest them with too much significance.


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