The euro will not be safe until Europe answers some fundamental questions that it has run away from for many years. At their root is how its nations should respond to a world that is rapidly changing around them. What will it do as globalisation strips the West of the monopoly over the technologies that have made it rich, and an ageing Europe starts to look increasingly like the western peninsula of a resurgent Asia?
While the world waits for Europe to make up its mind, catastrophe is in the air. It could take many forms. A country might storm out of the euro—which the treaty forbids, but who could stop a determined government? European banks might suffer a fatal loss of confidence. Italy or Spain might become unable to borrow on decent terms. Or a government trying to impose austerity might be replaced by one that rejects it. Any of these could cause contagion and plunge the world economy into depression.
Can Europe turn back from the abyss? Only if the core countries will support the rest as they submit themselves to radical political, social and economic reform. Nobody should be under any illusions about how difficult that will be.