Policymakers in many of the world's hot spots have a common New Year's wish: for unity to usher in and consolidate political and economic stability.
Paris and Mexico City
The international news of any year is a disparate affair, a global chronicle of courage, calamity, and close calls. The interconnectedness of events is not always clear.
After another year in the depths of a debt crisis that has tested the viability of the European Union, leaders made a major step forward at the end of the year: agreeing to give the European Central Bank oversight of the biggest banks in the Union.
Skeptics dismiss the agreement as a watered-down initiative of common-denominator compromises and delays. But it paves the way for an eventual banking union, and caps off a year of expressed commitments to deeper integration.
"The decision of European heads of state to create a banking union and a fiscal union still needs to be implemented. But that was a genuine game changer in a sense," says Jan Techau, director of Carnegie Europe at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Brussels. "It is by no means perfect and is not seen in action yet; but if this comes, that will create momentum for more political integration."
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