Once again, we are faced with a major challenge. As Nicolas Sarkozy hasput it in the run-up to the summit of Eurozone leaders to be held on 23 October, "Our destiny will be decided in the next ten days."

But what destiny are we talking about? Since February 2010, the 17 Eurozone states have held a slew of "decisive summits:" often last minute affairs to thrash out an agreement on the amount of aid to be provided to Greece and other vulnerable countries, and the manner in which it is to be administered. On each occasion, politicians and a majority of commentators have congratulated themselves on the accomplishment of a difficult step forward in a painful situation, which has resulted in pledges to provide loans to Greece, direct aid, and the creation and subsequent reinforcement of European Financial Stability Facility, and plans for the harmonisation of budgetary policies etc…

And on each occasion, a few days or a few weeks go by and the entire process has to be relaunched from scratch: because Greece has sunk further into crisis, or another country has demanded assistance, or the ratings agencies have another country’s credit rating. The markets are once again "nervous," in other words: having bet on a further degradation of the situation, they have succeeded in making things worse. And in the meantime, the populations in affected countries have had to contend with more and more austerity packages, which feed social discontent and euroscepticism.

With a few days left to run before the G20, where the United States and China plan to explain to Europe that if it is not capable of restoring order to its finances, the waning superpower and the triumphant new power will take charge of the solution to the debt crisis: it is our destiny indeed that is at stake.

But is the eurozone the EU? Does the single currency encompass the European project in its entirety? Is the linking of the destiny of the European project to Europe’s monetary edifice not the best way to endanger the European project? Having no definitive answer to these contradictory questions, European leaders have been reduced to reassuring and calming the markets, while warning that the survival of the EU is at stake. This definitely real but unfortunately incoherent attitude has resulted in an 18-month slide towards a moment when we will effectively have to decide what it is that we want to do with the EU.

With this in mind, you might be tempted to say that the 23 October summit will in fact be decisive. But let’s not forget that Berlin has already announced another meeting for the 26th. As the proverbial man falling from a skycraper keeps saying to himself – “So far, so good...”

Translated from the French by Mark McGovern