Good things happen in threes: Following an unlikely and awe-inspiring Ryder Cup victory at Medinah Country Club in Illinois last month, Europe was riding a morale-boosting high. Today the Nobel Committee in Oslo named the European Union as the recipient of its 2012 Peace Prize. The committee commended the EU for six decades of peace in a geographical zone that hitherto suffered centuries of warfare. According to Jean Monnet, one of the architects of European integration, “There will be no peace in Europe if the states are reconstituted on the basis of national sovereignty…The countries of Europe are too small to guarantee their peoples the necessary prosperity and social development. The European states must constitute themselves into a federation or a European entity that would make them into a common economic unit.” His vision led to more than 60 years of continuing peacetime on the Continent.
Could the third installment of Europe’s serendipity be a stabilization of its currency and a resurgence of its weaker members? Unlikely, at least not right now, but at least no one is resorting to gunfire. While the launch of the European Stability Mechanism, a rescue fund, will grant some reprieve to struggling nations, Europe’s economic troubles are ongoing. This week Greece announced record unemployment of 25% (54% youth unemployment) and S&P cut the rating on Spanish debt from BBB+ to BBB-, one level above junk status. Europe may have established “peace in our time,” but the road to economic stability remains long and rocky.
To learn more about the breadth and depth of the euro crisis, take a look at these titles: