2013-08-27 — telegraph.co.uk
Rewind to two years ago, and it seemed to be all over for the beleaguered euro. Spreads were off the scale, the banking system looked close to collapse, and words such as "eurogeddon" were part of the everyday lexicon. The single currency's obituaries were being widely prepared, while here in the UK they had already been written.
Originally in a state of denial, even the politicians had by November 2011 apparently accepted the inevitable. Confronted by the announcement of a Greek plebiscite on the terms of the latest bail-out, an exasperated Nicolas Sarkozy, then President of France, broke the final taboo and publicly acknowledged that some countries would be unable to make the cut.
This admission set in train a mass panic in financial markets as the full implications of a break-up began to sink in. If Greece had to leave, then other, bigger distressed economies such as Spain or even Italy might be forced out, too, triggering complete meltdown in Europe's banking system. The economic abyss seemed to beckon.
Now fast-forward to today, and much of Europe's economy is engulfed by a depression of unprecedented intensity, the euro still exists in its original form, and talk of a break-up has receded to the point of virtual invisibility. Not a single member has been forced out. In fact, the currency has even gained a new member -- Estonia -- and there seems to be a long queue of others apparently keen to sign up. What's more, there are even signs of economic revival. In the second quarter of this year, eurozone GDP rose by 0.3pc, or an annualised rate of 1.2pc. Business surveys last week suggested that this upturn has continued into the third quarter. So can we finally bid farewell to Europe's most serious crisis since the Second World War?
Would that it were so.
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