Since the 2008 Wall Street meltdown, Europe — specifically the 17 countries that use the Euro currency — has struggled to contain the fiscal fallout. Some "basket-case" economies like Greece have tipped on the verge of insolvency, surviving on bailouts from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
Unemployment has soared in many countries, surpassing 25 per cent in Spain and Greece. Even the stronger countries have slipped in and out of recession. Austerity, most often in the form of tax hikes and curbs to social spending, has been the norm in many countries, as have street protests demanding the end to the economic pain.