For the European Union, the thrill is gone.
A triumph of statecraft and imagination of the last century, a response to barbarism and devastation, the union is now beset with division and criticism from every side. Its institutions are too weak to manage such varied economies, and its ambitions are undermined by a chaotic world of terrorism and powerful traditional states.
The vicious battle over Greece at times seemed more like a case of domestic violence than a display of fraternal solidarity.
A united Germany’s size and economic power have altered the French- German relationship and set Europe spinning at very different speeds, moving further away from the “ever closer union” established in the 1957 Treaty of Rome, the union’s founding document.
But for all the criticism Germany received for its treatment of Greece, Berlin was hardly alone. Other countries, tired of Greek posturing, were happy to hide behind Chancellor Angela Merkel. The Dutch, Finns, Slovenes, Slovaks and Balts shared much of the German position, and countries that had accepted significant austerity under pressure, like Spain and Portugal, were unwilling to give Greece a pass.