Friday, December 23, 2011

Lacking a Grand Plan, Europe Limps Ahead

by Stephen Fidler

Wall Street Journal

December 23, 2011

In 2011, European leaders have been unswerving in their commitment to muddling through.

Not for them grand or decisive moves to resolve the euro zone's twin government and bank financial crises. Instead, they have settled on a series of smaller gestures, over which they have haggled publicly beforehand and often afterward. Some actions may have helped their currency union hobble through the year; others will at best reduce the chances of a future crisis.

"It's not pretty," says Daniel Gros of the Brussels-based Centre for European Policy Studies.

Can the policy makers win ugly? Given it's the season of goodwill, let us examine what could go right in the next few months.

The first reason policy makers might be more optimistic is that the European Central Bank has adopted a more active stance, even though its rhetorical position hasn't changed much.


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