Even as the ink is drying on Portugal's European Union and International Monetary Fund bail-out agreement, evidence is mounting that last year's bail-outs of Greece and Ireland have failed. Far from improving their access to the financial markets, Greece and Ireland face record borrowing costs.
Ever since the eurozone crisis broke out in late 2009, European leaders have sought to reconcile two mutually incompatible objectives: the need to restore market confidence in the zone's indebted periphery; and the unbending refusal of creditor countries in the core to turn the zone into a 'transfer union'.
Time is running out to prevent the eurozone crisis from imperilling Europe's banking system and with it the integrity of the currency union. It is beholden on policy-makers to minimise the economic (and hence political costs) to the EU.