UNTIL a year or two ago, all you ever heard about Europe was its growing irrelevance.
It was the place that Obama and Hu Jintao avoided. It was a welfare money pit. It couldn't make up its mind about anything. It couldn't even choose a leader with any teeth.
Europe might not exactly have shaken off this image in the past 12 months, but no-one would now call it irrelevant. Its leaders have never been in more demand with their most powerful counterparts. The world scrutinises their every press conference, like watching bomb-disposal specialists working against a ticking clock. Is it the blue wire that saves the world's financial system from collapse or is it the red one? Tick, tock. And the clock doesn't even have a face to tell you when it reaches zero.
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