Blame often gets cast on the "irresponsible" countries who borrowed too much, taking advantage of the low interest rates available to all euro member nations. However, many argue that it's not right in all cases to blame indebted governments for their own situation, since not every country with high deficits actually engaged in reckless borrowing.
Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain -- gathered under the unfortunate acronym PIIGS -- are some of the most highly leveraged eurozone countries, and most people think that if a disaster happens, it will start with one of them. Italy's debt is 121 percent the size of its economy. For Ireland, that figure is 109 percent. In Greece, it's 165 percent.
The biggest percentage cuts in the year 2010/11 were made by two of the states worst affected by the debt crisis - Spain and Greece. But overall European development aid was also down by 1.5%.
Greece was living beyond its means even before it joined the euro. After it adopted the single currency, public spending soared. Public sector wages, for example, rose 50% between 1999 and 2007 - far faster than in other eurozone countries.
there’s one area where Europe is shining. So far this year, the total value of mergers and acquisitions on the Continent by foreign companies has reached $101 billion, well ahead of the combined $73 billion spent in the United States by international acquirers, according to the data provider Dealogic.
July 5 The European Central Bank cut its benchmark interest rate from 1 percent to 0.75 percent, its lowest level ever, in perhaps its most aggressive move yet to prevent further deterioration in the euro zone. The Bank of England stepped up its economic stimulus via bond-buying, and the central bank of China unexpectedly also announced a rate cut.
Seven of 91 European banks failed stress tests aimed at measuring their strength in case the continent's government debt crisis takes a turn for the worse, regulators said Friday. European Union officials hope the results will reassure markets worried about hidden bank losses from the crisis.
POLITICIANS the world over seem intent on demonstrating how impotent they are to find lasting solutions to the major policy crises of the day. As Australia's leaders scrambled, unsuccessfully, last week to find a solution to asylum seeker deaths at sea, Europe's leaders met in Brussels to hammer out some solutions to the euro debt crisis, now five years old.
Greece's situation remains precarious. The anti-bailout party got a big chunk of the vote. There's also no guarantee that the winners will be able to form a government. Elections a month ago failed to produce a governing coalition, leading to Sunday's do-over.
Anxiety over a global economic slowdown underpinned by the fiscal troubles in the euro zone led analysts to conclude any bounce in stock prices could be short-lived.
Spain officially requested a bailout for the nation's banks Saturday but euphoria about the weekend's announcement was short-lived.
European finance officials have reportedly discussed limiting the size of withdrawals from ATM machines, imposing border checks and introducing eurozone capital controls as a worst-case scenario should Athens decide to leave the euro.
The ESM [European Stability Mechanism] is urgently needed to fight European debt contagion over the summer and is Germany's preferred option for a bailout of Spanish banks because it is more secure for lenders than the existing, smaller eurozone fund, the EFSF.