From the Chinese buying spree to the rise of extremism, Foreign Policy lays out what to watch for as the continent teeters on the brink of disaster.
Two short years ago, if anyone had suggested that we would be considering pan-European bank regulation, cross-border deposit guarantees, joint and several Eurobonds, and the very survival of the common currency, they would have been dismissed as nothing short of crazy. But what was unthinkable then appears to be verging on the inevitable now. With last weekend's announcement of a bailout for Spanish banks and with potentially euro-shaking elections in Greece this weekend, we can now say with certainty that the staid European Union we knew for its first two decades is a thing of the past.
What we're not yet sure of is just what will take its place. The complexity and breadth of the unfolding European financial crisis, with another imminent flash point seemingly around every corner, have made it particularly difficult to distinguish noise from signal and the valuable data from the spin in each day's headlines. In particular, the news focus on daily -- or hourly -- developments in the crisis often obscures the broader dynamics that will shape the European response over the next few months, which will in turn shape Europe itself over the next few decades.
Here are 12 key trends to watch over the next few weeks for help in projecting what the new Europe will look like if it finally emerges from the mire.