It was not because of the power of financial markets or because the Germans didn’t want to “help” the Greeks that Europe suffered through about three years of recurring crises, in which the continued existence of the euro was thrown into question, until August of 2012.
It was because the European authorities were using these acute crises, and did not want to resolve them, until they had extracted certain “reforms” from the weaker European economies (and possibly even some of the stronger ones, if we consider the European Fiscal Compact and what the French government has been doing recently). We know this because as soon as the European Central Bank (ECB) wanted to do so, it put an end to these crises in a matter of weeks, in July-August of 2012, by effectively establishing a ceiling on the interest rates of Italian and Spanish bonds – something it could have done at any time in the prior three years.
We also know this because the political agenda of the troika (the ECB, European Commission, and IMF) is spelled out pretty clearly in the IMF’s comprehensive reports on regular consultations with European governments. A review of 67 IMF reports on the 27 European Union countries during the four years from 2008 through 2011 shows a remarkably consistent pattern: reduce the size of government, reduce the bargaining power of labor, cut spending on pensions and health care, and increase labor supply.Truthout | OpEd
Any discussion of the European or eurozone project should have this struggle over economic and social policy at its center....
Problems of Eurozone, European Integration Stem From Deeply Unpopular Elite Economic, Social Policy