And they didnít fall down

As to the special role of Germany, it is important to recognise that Chancellor Angela Merkel does not want to be the face of Europe. She has been eager for other European leaders to share the limelight. Germany will continue to be one of the strongest supporters of EU integration. As the economy calms down over the course of 2013, Merkel is likely to become less visible on the European stage, while she maintains her high level of domestic support.

France and Italy have their own internal leadership struggles, but they will muddle through. The upcoming Italian elections will likely result in increased economic stability and restore democratic processes in Italy.

Pundits and the media are still hesitant to say that the worst of the eurozone crisis is behind us. Indeed, there are real challenges to overcome before Europe's economy is back to where it was before the crisis. Unemployment is still a problem because growth has not yet picked up. However, the EU is headed for eventual recovery and the political structure underpinning Europe, both at the national and supranational levels, will enable this to happen.

Mai'a K. Davis Cross is assistant professor of international relations at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and the author of 'Security Integration in Europe'

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