Will Europe Be Willing but Disabled?

The eurozone crisis might break European leaders’ inherent resistance to compromise, collaboration, and common action. But the longer they bicker and dither, the greater the risk that what they gain in willingness will be lost to incapacity.

NEWPORT BEACH – When it comes to describing Europe’s ever-worsening crisis, metaphors abound. For some, it is five minutes to midnight; for others, Europe is a car accelerating towards the edge of a cliff. For all, a perilous existential moment is increasingly close at hand.

Optimists – fortunately, there remain a few, especially in Europe itself – believe that when the situation becomes really critical, political leaders will turn things around and put Europe back on the path of economic growth, job creation, and financial stability. But pessimists have been growing in number and influence. They see political dysfunction adding to financial turmoil, thereby amplifying the eurozone’s initial design flaws.

Of course, who is ultimately proven correct is a function of eurozone governments’ willingness to make the difficult decisions that are required, and in a coordinated and timely fashion. But that is not the only determinant: governments must also be able to turn things around once the willingness to do so materializes. And here, the endless delays are making the challenges more daunting and the outcome more uncertain.

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