BERLIN – For two years now, one European summit after another has ended with assurances that – at long last – the necessary measures for containing the eurozone’s sovereign-debt crisis have been taken. Most were publicly portrayed as breakthroughs, though they were nothing of the sort. As a rule, it took about three days before markets caught on and the crisis entered another round.
Because Europe’s political leaders have failed to manage the crisis effectively, the cost of ending it has risen. Indeed, an easily manageable financial crisis in Greece was allowed to grow into a life-threatening emergency for the states on the southern periphery of the European Union – and for the European project as a whole. This was statecraft at its worst, for which most of the blame can be laid at German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s door.