“The expansion of the European financial crisis and its deepening into a political crisis has followed a clear causal chain produced by a series of missed opportunities.”
Eurozone refers to the Economic and Monetary Union of member states of the European Union. Members of the Eurozone have adopted the Euro as their common currency and sole lender. The monetary policy of the Eurozone is laid out by the European Central Bank (ECB). Fiscal Policy, however, is the domain of individual member countries. The eurozone currently consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. The roots of the ongoing economic crisis in Europe began in early 2009, as a knock-on effect from the 2008 global financial crisis, which had already claimed Iceland as a victim. Iceland was not an institutional issue for the EU, but in 2009 Eastern members of the EU not using the euro began to have balance-of-payments problems. They suffered effective devaluations of their national currencies and sought help from Brussels to resolve their mounting budget deficits. In response, the EU doubled the funds in an existing facility to address balance-of-payments problems. Among the European countries that are affected mainly by the ongoing Eurozone crisis are Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain (PIGS countries). Iceland, the country which experienced the largest crisis in 2008 when its entire international banking system collapsed has emerged less affected this time as the government was unable to bail the banks out. In the EU, especially in countries where sovereign debts have increased sharply due to bank bailouts, a crisis of confidence has emerged with the widening of bond yield spreads and risk insurance on credit default swaps between these countries and other EU members, most importantly Germany.