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The euro crisis is back. Actually it never left. But there was a period, beginning last summer, when Europe’s political, business and media elites convinced themselves the worst had passed.

The European Central Bank (ECB) — Europe’s Federal Reserve — had tranquilized jittery bond markets. Italy and Spain, the two countries that might trigger a new crisis, would be able to borrow at reasonable interest rates, because the ECB had pledged to act as a lender of last resort. Though debtor nations still faced hard times, matters were slowly mending.

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