Midlife Crisis: State Of The European Union The euro -- the single currency shared by 16 nations -- has been shaken by the global economic downturn and the lack of a joint, enforceable monetary policy. The EU social model has been eroded by national debt and budget-cutting austerity measures. And a newly assertive Germany is causing anxiety among its union partners.
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Midlife Crisis: State Of The European Union

People stand in line outside a government job center in Madrid last month. After Spain adopted the euro in 1999, investment flowed into the country and the economy boomed. Now, it is suffering from the highest unemployment rate in the 16-nation eurozone and grappling with the way to recovery. Victor R. Caivano/AP hide caption

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Victor R. Caivano/AP

People march during a protest in Marseille, southern France, last month. Workers nationwide were striking to protest President Nicolas Sarkozy's plans to raise the retirement age to 62 from 60. Sweeping reforms to France's money-losing pension system is part of efforts around Europe to cut back on growing public debts. Claude Paris/AP hide caption

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Claude Paris/AP

Protesters in Berlin demonstrate last month against federal government budget cuts. Here, a participant's sign criticizes the government for being disconnected from reality and power-hungry. German discontent is growing over the country's leadership -- and paymaster -- role in the European Union. Berthold Stadler/AP hide caption

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Berthold Stadler/AP

Five decades after the idea was born in the aftermath of World War II, the European Union is being tested by 21st century challenges. Above, the Euro monument is illuminated in front of the European Central Bank in downtown Frankfurt, Germany. Bernd Kammerer/AP hide caption

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Bernd Kammerer/AP

A Fitful Dream: European Unity Shaken By New Woes

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