In 1951, in the aftermath of the Second World War, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands came together to found the European Union. Over the ensuing years, the EU has grown both in membership, and in economic and political influence to become the largest single market in the world. On 1 Jan 1999 the single currency – the euro – was launched and has now been adopted by 17 of the 27 EU member states.
However, cracks started to appear in the 'European project' in 2010, driven by the sovereign debt crisis. In 2011, these cracks have widened, clouding the future of Europe in uncertainty. This report looks at the situation in Europe (and the future of the single currency) from the perspective of businesses within the eurozone, those in the EU but outside of the single currency, and neighbouring countries outside of the EU.