"According to the most recent National Threat Assessment, the global financial crisis and its geopolitical implications pose the primary near-term security concern of the United States. Over the short run, both the EU and the United States are attempting to resolve the financial crisis while stimulating domestic demand to stem the economic downturn. These efforts have born little progress so far as the economic recession and the financial crisis have become reinforcing events, causing EU governments to forge policy responses to both crises. In addition, both the United States and the EU likely will confront the prospect of growing economic and political instability in Eastern Europe and elsewhere over the impact of the economic recession on restive populations. In the long run, the United States and the EU likely will search for a regulatory scheme that provides for greater stability while not inadvertently offering advantages to any one country or group. Throughout the crisis, the European Central Bank and other central banks have assumed a critical role as the primary institutions with the necessary political and economic clout to respond effectively. Within Europe, national governments, private firms, and international organizations have varied in their response to the financial crisis, reflecting differing views over the proper policy course to pursue and the unequal effects of the financial crisis and the economic downturn. Initially, some EU members preferred to address the crisis on a case-by-case basis. As the crisis has persisted, however, leaders have begun looking for a systemic approach that ultimately may affect the drive within Europe toward greater economic integration."
CRS Report for Congress, R40415