Barroso is not alone in his positive assessment. Last month, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble commented on a successful buy-back of Greek government bonds, saying that the worst of the crisis was over. And according to a survey by German research group Sentix, the majority of the European business community shares this optimism. The number of investors who believe that one or more eurozone members will have to leave the common currency in 2013 is now at about 25 percent, which may still seem high, but is actually down from 33 percent last November.
The man widely credited with this rise in positivity is Mario Draghi. When the president of the European Central Bank announced last summer that his institute would do all it took to save the euro, and when the ECB subsequently bought large amounts of government bonds from ailing economies like Greece, Portugal, and Spain, it seemed to convince the financial markets that there was no point in betting on the demise of the common currency.
But critics say the underlying problems are yet to be addressed. The fundamental one is competitiveness. While sharing the convenience of a common currency and common interest rates, there are large differences between the eurozone members in productivity and labor costs.