Future of the Euro

May 17, 2011 • Volume 5, Issue 10
Will the Eurozone Survive Intact?
By Sarah Glazer


Students and police clash in Athens (AFP/Getty Images/Angelos Tzortzinis)
Students and police clash in Athens, Greece, on May 11, 2011, during protests against harsh austerity measures the government agreed to in exchange for a €110 billion ($145 billion) bailout from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union. Ireland and Portugal also have sought handouts from their EU brethren. (AFP/Getty Images/Angelos Tzortzinis)

Portugal has become the third eurozone government to seek a bailout loan from the European Union, which is struggling to prevent a debt crisis from crippling its poorest members and spreading to richer euro countries. Historically impoverished nations such as Ireland, Portugal and Greece experienced a surge of wealth in the 1990s after adopting the euro. But in the wake of the worldwide economic crash and recession, that wealth proved to be an illusion based on cheap credit from Germany and other stronger economies. The euro's defenders say the crisis has created a new determination to fix the eurozone's defects, particularly its lack of strong centralized governance. But the rise of nationalist parties in richer countries opposed to bailouts could hamper a solution. And despite years of rhetoric about European unity, critics say individual nations will never give up enough of their sovereignty — especially their right to tax and spend on liberal social programs — to become part of a United States of Europe.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Credit and Consumer Debt
Jul. 20, 2012  Debt Collectors
May 17, 2011  Future of the Euro
Oct. 10, 2008  Regulating Credit Cards
May 09, 2008  Financial Crisis
Mar. 02, 2007  Consumer Debt
May 26, 2006  Teen Spending
Nov. 19, 1999  The Consumer Culture
Nov. 15, 1996  Consumer Debt
Sep. 13, 1985  America in Debt
Jan. 25, 1980  Consumer Debt
Apr. 11, 1975  Consumer Credit Economy
Jan. 12, 1972  Directions of the Consumer Movement
Nov. 10, 1965  Personal Debt in a Consumer Economy
Jan. 02, 1957  Tight Credit
Feb. 10, 1956  Consumer Credit
Mar. 30, 1949  Installment Credit
Aug. 09, 1941  Restriction of Consumer Credit
Jan. 28, 1941  The Big Business of Making Small Loans
Jan. 17, 1934  Federal Credit Aid for Consumers
Jan. 01, 1930  Installment Buying, 1920–1930
Regional Political Affairs: Europe