One month before their annual August holidays, Europe’s leaders doubtless would like, for the first time in four years, to enjoy the sun without dreading that all hell is about to break loose in the eurozone. Events over the past week offer certain grounds for optimism.

After a crisis flared in Portugal last week with the finance minister’s resignation, it took just seven days for the nation’s leaders to bring it under control and calm financial markets. In Greece, which like Portugal survives on international life support, lenders are finding a way to keep the emergency funds to Athens flowing in return for admittedly incomplete reforms.

On a wider front, Croatia’s entry into the EU, the decision to start membership talks with Serbia and the approval of Latvia’s request to join the eurozone illustrated the continuing appeal of European unity. Finally, latest purchasing managers’ indices, which measure the outlook for private companies, were the most buoyant since March 2012. Europe should haul itself out of recession in the second half of this year.

These signs are encouraging but provide no real evidence that the crisis is fading, merely that it is entering a different phase. The next 12 months will throw up political, social and financial market challenges that will once again test Europe’s crisis management skills.