A lot of ink has been spilled recently on the weakness of a currency union without a federal political system (i.e. the Euro). The most interesting background article we’ve seen on this topic is Stratfor’s Germany’s Choice which takes the long view and is well worth a read.
Simply put, Europe faces a financial meltdown.
The crisis is rooted in Europe’s greatest success: the Maastricht Treaty and the monetary union the treaty spawned epitomized by the euro. Everyone participating in the euro won by merging their currencies. Germany received full, direct and currency-risk-free access to the markets of all its euro partners. In the years since, Germany’s brutal efficiency has permitted its exports to increase steadily both as a share of total European consumption and as a share of European exports to the wider world. Conversely, the eurozone’s smaller and/or poorer members gained access to Germany’s low interest rates and high credit rating.
And the last bit is what spawned the current problem.