PAINFUL COMEBACK: The head of the International Monetary Fund believes the greatest threat to a lasting economic recovery in Europe is "the fatigue of both governments and populations" over painful steps taken to boost growth and combat national debt.
TIGHTENTED BELTS: Most governments in Europe have been on a quest to reduce public debt for the past three years. Spending cuts and tax hikes, however, have hurt economic growth. Countries that have had to take the most aggressive austerity measures have been in protracted recession. Living standards have plunged and unemployment is at record highs.
NEW WORLD ORDER: IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said the economy seems better in the United States, where President Barack Obama sent Congress a $3.8 trillion spending blueprint Wednesday. The U.S. has not pursued the same austerity measures, though Republicans are pushing hard for even tougher spending cuts.