Three years after Greece first became a cause for concern, the European crisis is hardly over. Although irreparable damage has been avoided and there are clear signs of a shift in market sentiment, the economic and social situation in southern Europe is set to remain grim for several years and political tension is on the rise. Europe may have displayed a strong sense of survival, but it has equally failed to display a sense of common purpose. The most straightforward explanation would be that few leaders still have high ambitions for Europe. Unlike those of the postwar generation, they do not regard themselves as entrusted with a mission. There is more than behaviour, however. The crisis exposed constitutional flaws in the design of the monetary union, and has opened a constitutional debate in which there is no agreement on what is desirable, neither within nor among participating countries. Europe is therefore not able to answer a series of fundamental questions raised by the crisis. This does not mean that the euro will not endure but raises the question of how it could regain the sense of purpose it is currently missing. To regain this sense of purpose, Europeans need to demonstrate to each other that they are still worth a union and rebuild mutual trust. But to engage citizens and inspire policymakers, Europe also needs a new common narrative for the age of globalization and the rise of emerging powers.
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