The “apocalyptic” 2012, the year of "the existential crisis of
the European Union"
A Euro zone "disaster" was averted but only temporarily, was the verdict on 2012
.In a year described as "the existential crisis of the union" by many of Europe's leaders the EuropeanUnion's single currency went to the brink. Greece appeared as if it was headed for 1930's style politicaland economic collapse as a technocrat "national unity" government headed for collapse in early 2012.Amid a bank run and growing opposition to an EU and IMF austerity program, imposed as the conditionof a bail-out, it looked as if Greece would default, bringing down the Euro. Greek elections in May tookplace amid boiling social conflicts and returned a radical Left-wing party Syriza, opposed to the EU andIMF, as the main opposition party. Greece's fate hung in the balance for a month without a clearparliamentary majority and market contagion threatened to lay waste to Italy and Spain. A secondround of elections in June still left the radical left as the main party of opposition but gave the center-right and center-left enough votes for a majority. A neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn made unprecedentedgains and in may, the election of Francois Hollande as the first Socialist President of France in decadesadded new "growth" elements to the eurozone sparking market fears that austerity was killing theeconomy and opening up new divisions between Paris and Berlin.The new Greek government, which passed draconian austerity measures that had sunk its predecessors,entered into new talks with its EU and IMF creditors, concluding in a second bail-out in the winter.However, doubts continued to linger over whether the country would be able to pay back its debts.An outlook painted in dark colors, as many had grown to fear the worst, started to brighten lately.Confidence in Mario Monti's technocrat government in Italy and widespread hope in the determinationof Mariano Rajoy's new Spanish administration to pass reforms halted market contagion. The main keymoment came in July after Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, pledged to do "allthat it takes" to save the Euro. By the end of the summer market turmoil abated as details emerged of his plan for unlimited bond purchases to help struggling countries such as Spain and Italy with the costof borrowing.
To “Brexit or not to Brexit”
A growing worry, overshadowing fears of a Greek exit from the euro, was and still is that of a "Brexit",Britain leaving the EU. David Cameron, the Prime Minister broke a so called taboo in December bystating that, while not his preference, leaving the EU was "imaginable". The fears were fueled by