BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A cloud of gloom hangs over Brussels ahead of yet another summit to thrash out yet another “comprehensive strategy” to tackle a sovereign debt crisis that Europe has failed for two years to stem, and that now threatens the world economy.
Gallows humour was rife among the grandees of European integration at the annual conference of the Friends of Europe think-tank on “the state of the union” last week.
“Hopefully next year we won’t be talking about Greek debt,” Etienne Davignon, 79, a Belgian former European Commissioner and patriarch of the European project, joked in his closing remarks.
“Either it will have gone or we will have gone.”
The opening session was billed as: “The EU’s three ages: rise, decline and fall?”
The question mark was the only concession to hope.
Weary cynicism surrounds next Sunday’s (October 23) summit of the 27 EU leaders, their sixth attempt this year to draw a line under the euro zone crisis that has led to bailouts of Greece, Ireland and Portugal and is now singeing Italy and Spain.