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The day after the emergency aid to Spanish banks was released, on the eve of a crucial vote in Greece and with rumours of an appeal to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) rife in Italy, Handelsblattdevotes a special edition to the ills of the old continent, asking: “What now, Europe?" Many economists and politicians in Germany and Europe – including the former head of Deutsche Bank, Josef Ackermann, former British Foreign Minister David Owen and British historian Timothy Garton Ash – share their vision of the crisis and their suggestions on how to get out of it.

To believe Torsten Rieke, editor of the opinion pages, and the daily’s own analyses, the continent is split in two: between the Europe of cultures that have converged, and the Europe of states in crisis – and the two cannot find common ground on what the solution to the crisis will be —

Europe is facing two crucial questions: can we succeed in providing a democratic basis for the common house of Europe – and do we even want it? And second: can a re-founded monetary union be the motor of European integration? The answers depend on each other – but to start with, we’re not ready for the United States of Europe. It also means we should wind down our ambitions for the euro.