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Making Europe Work

PARIS – Some economists believe that this summer could mark the moment when some of the eurozone’s peripheral members may begin to be forced out; others think that such a scenario is inconceivable. All agree that, at least in the short term, a eurozone breakup would be disastrous for jobs and growth.

But, because the outcome is unknowable, and depends on politics as much as on economics, let us leave that frightening prospect to one side and look instead at what we know about the underlying performance of the European Union economy. In short, how competitive is Europe in the summer of 2012?