Negative Attitudes

Powerful, Afflicted Europe

europa on her bull_effect
Battered maybe, but Europa is still riding her bull.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Europe is dealing with pressure from home and abroad, and a lack of respect from Washington and Beijing. The E.U.’s achievements in dealing with huge crises should be recognized.

  • Facts


    • The pope said this year that there is a “general perception of tiredness and aging” in Europe.
    • Europe was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.
    • Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, published a book in 2013 entitled “The Chained Giant: Europe’s Last Chance.”
  • Audio


  • Pdf

So this is what European success stories look like: a telephone conference, a tweet, and a press statement.

It took the eurogroup a mere nine lines to tell Greece that it has done everything to satisfy its partners and would be given further financial aid. The message could not have been more sober – but this agreement is actually quite spectacular.

Just two weeks ago it looked like the worst would happen. The Greek and German finance ministers were facing off, a “Grexit” loomed. Would Hellas end up in the arms of Vladimir Putin?

It was the end of the European Union as we knew it.

Now, the Greeks are back in order, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has approved the deal and the European Union will survive. It’s a massive success.

But was there champagne? No, not even a beer. 

Why is it so hard for the European Union to accept its own successes? Why is it always the same pattern, first  in the euro crisis and now with Russia — first come the doomsday prophecies and then, when the E.U. comes to an agreement, there is not even a sense of relief.

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.