Europe is aware that, in the next two years, a new set of economic and financial upheavals will grow more likely. Policy-makers are torn between competing preoccupations over short- and long-term ways of shoring up European defences.

The fundamental task is to meet the euro bloc’s longer-term challenges: low growth, poor investment and increasing electoral appeal of non-mainstream political parties. OMFIF’s 1 November seminar in Berlin on ‘The future of the euro area’ coincided with tension on the financial markets over the Italian government’s differences with the European Commission over its three-year budget plan. And it came just days after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to step down from leadership of her Christian Democratic Union, the centrepiece of her fractious three-party Berlin coalition, following electoral setbacks caused by her unpopular immigration policy.

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