Leaders of the European Union failed to reach a unanimous agreement last Friday on a new seven-year, $1.3 trillion budget for their collective government. Adoption of a new budget faces uncompromising hurdles. It must have unanimous support, rendering adoption impossible in the US context. Even across the pond, arriving at consensus is no easy task. The budget debate has reopened deep divisions within the EU, including skepticism about the European experiment from the highest levels of the UK government.

I am just returned from Greece, the center of gravity for efforts to secure Europe’s future. The protests in the streets outside the Grand Bretagne hotel, which sits just a few hundred feet from the Greek parliament, underscore a popular readiness to walk away from the economic and political coalition. That is adding to Greece’s pain. As in Spain and Portugal, a brain drain of the most mobile and productive market participants is an emerging risk.

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