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An inadequate arsenal for a currency in grave danger

To have split the European Union, isolating one of its largest members, as the price for a decisive deal to end the eurozone financial crisis would have been a tough political choice, but an understandable one. The French and German leaders have created instead a damaging rift with Britain without delivering any worthwhile advance at all in their slow-motion response to the crisis.

Friday's agreement in Brussels adds little to the inadequate arsenal available to defend the eurozone, which remains vulnerable to weakness in sovereign bond markets and to inadequately capitalised banks. Proposals to re-fashion the eurozone can be judged against one simple criterion. Would the present crisis have been avoided, or at least substantially moderated and easier to resolve, had the new measures been in place since the euro's launch in 1999? On this basis, Friday's measures came up short once again and will be tested soon in the markets.


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