Now, perhaps more than ever, many people think that the euro area is a star-crossed creature of a continent in search of an elusive peace and unity. I am not one of them, but the economic and security policies pursued by Germany and France may well justify the worst fears about the future of Europe's epochal achievement.
Just when the ECB was beginning to make some progress in helping the monetary union climb out of a deep valley of recession, stagnation and mass unemployment, caused by Germany's ill-advised austerity policies, it got a one-two punch by what the German finance minister calls the "avalanche" of migrants.
That is a great pity indeed, because the flash estimates for the third quarter show that the euro area economy picked up at an annual rate of 1.6 percent, from 1.3 percent in the first half of this year. Even the laggards like France and Italy moved up a bit, while Spain nearly doubled its pace of advance compared with the past year's economic growth.
The euro area's industrial production also marked an impressive performance, rising 1.9 percent in the three months to September from a 1.3 percent gain in the previous quarter. The strongest output was noted in capital goods and in consumer durables – excellent indicators of broad-based recoveries in business investments and household consumption.
Remarkably, these good results of the strengthening aggregate demand did not come at the expense of deteriorating trade balances. Probably boosted by a banner tourist season, the French current account moved toward a rarely seen balance, Spain's surplus widened and Italy's surplus remained roughly stable.
All that is now under a big question mark.