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It still seems unthinkable to most Europeans, but a growing number of outside analysts and investors believe the eurozone is headed toward a breakup as fast-moving market turmoil and a looming recession threaten to overwhelm the slow-motion response of European leaders.
European leaders were wrestling Thursday over how much of their sovereignty they are willing to give up in a desperate attempt to save the ambitious project of continental unity that grew from the ashes of World War II.
Stocks are closing sharply lower after the head of the European Central Bank said there were no plans for large-scale government bond purchases, as many in the markets had hoped.
The leaders of Germany and France are pushing their European counterparts to save the ambitious project of Continental unity that grew from the ashes of World War II.
The leaders of France and Germany called forcefully Monday for a new European Union treaty that automatically would punish countries that use the euro if they violate existing limits on overspending.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed forward Friday with what markets see as an emerging plan for more effective action to contain the European financial crisis, urging tougher rules against government overspending.
The central banks of the wealthiest countries, trying to prevent a debt crisis in Europe from exploding into a global panic, swept in Wednesday to shore up the world financial system by making it easier for banks to borrow American dollars.
European finance officials who met Tuesday in Brussels were trying to save their common currency and prevent a meltdown that could tip the global economy into recession. The debt crisis that began in Greece is threatening to overwhelm much bigger economies in Spain, Italy and even France.