The financial crisis has rattled many economies, and the European region, along with related exchange traded funds (ETFs), are still shaken by the sudden upheaval that has left some noticeable cracks in the EU.

European countries came together in an attempt to make progress toward a true open free-trade block, and this economic and monetary union was written into the EU treaty with the creation of the European Central Bank that now has 16 countries fixed to a relatively new currency, the euro, according to the Economist.

Since the inception of the euro, the average inflation rate in the region has been a little more than 2%. Job creation increased but growth trends did not gain much. Furthermore, the euro did not bring with it greater prosperity or the political union some thought it would.

The financial crisis brought to light the imbalances that have built up in the euro zone. While the Mediterranean countries dug deeper current-account deficits, Germany experienced huge current-account surpluses.

People are wondering whether this motley group of countries can continue sharing the same monetary policies, whether the crisis will jump start economic reform or whether  it will attract or repulse regional countries. Another aspect of the debate is if the EU will need greater political union to function efficiently.

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