The crisis in Greece – and Ireland and Portugal and perhaps elsewhere – is a crisis for Europe as a whole. Not because that is the nature of a single currency, but because Europe has consciously chosen to make it one. From its inception, the guiding philosophy of the EU was that if you took every opportunity to promote the mechanisms of integration, political and economic reality would eventually catch up. That was the vision of Robert Schumann and Jean Monnet, and their strategy was successful beyond their dreams.
But such a policy was always risky, because if institutions did not match aspirations then the resulting strains would jeopardise not just future progress but the gains already made. The fate of those who push their luck until it runs out is one of the most familiar stories of business, politics and finance – and is the fate of Europe today.