The current crisis is an opportunity in disguise. If the European leaders seize the chance, they can improve competitiveness and thereby living standards in the south and east, while increasing the legitimacy of the EU at the same time.
It is still winter in the northern hemisphere, but there is never a bad time for spring cleaning. I suggest that policymakers de-clutter their to-do lists by focusing on three priorities.
After five years of a deepening economic recession and growing unemployment in Greece, one may wonder whether there is now hope ("elpida") for an end to the Greek fiscal and debt crisis, the restoration of the country's competitiveness, and a sustainable recovery of growth and jobs.
Little has been done to correct the fundamental flaws that spawned Europe's ill-fated common currency, the Euro. Premature optimism relieves Europe's ever cautious policy makers from taking the bold steps needed to truly stem the crisis.
To date the EU, which is still a work in progress, has shown remarkable resilience in dealing with the crisis. We have some way to go but let's at least acknowledge the progress that is being made.
While bankers and high-profile economists are largely to be blamed for the present crisis, our politicians contradicting their promises for better management of the economy seek financial advices from the same bankers who caused the crisis.
Greece is regressing. As it becomes poorer, its environment suffers more. If you ever needed an illustration of why affordable energy is important for the environment, Greece provides it.
Huge strides forward in Europe and subsequent market rallies have raised hopes for the region. So is the road to recovery now clear or are significant risks still present? Crucially, what are the key areas of conflict we should be watching closely and which are 'red herrings'?
At a time when Europe seems divided, lacking vision and, according to some pundits, on the point of collapse, how can we reignite that shared vision and enthusiasm its founders had?
If we want to create more jobs, Europe has to invest heavily in the growth sectors of the future, be they genetics, nanotechnology or digitalization. This can only be done by strengthening research and innovation throughout the EU.
There is no legal framework for a member country to re-establish its own currency or for one member to expel another. Leaving would have far-reaching implications for a country's politics, finances, economy, society and future.
Have Europe's citizens lost faith in the European project? If so, why, and what could we do to reignite a sense of common purpose?
The European Union currently suffers from "competitiveness deficit" compared to other advanced economies. It has lagged behind the U.S. for the last two decades and, if we look at gross domestic product per capita, the gap has actually widened. Why is this?
It is good to be Angela Merkel. Growth in Germany goes sharply negative in the last quarter of 2012 and press reports emphasize how sound the German economy is because it is a net exporter.
How can we restore stability to the European banking system? A banking union is the only solution, including bank deposit insurance to protect savers' assets and a central regulator, the European Central Bank.
The EU austerians' hope is that our economy will act like such a powerful tow truck that it will be able to overcome the "fiscal drag" of austerity on the Eurozone's economy. This is a significantly insane idea.