With economic growth in the E.U. flat-lining in mid-2014 after a modest recovery, pressure mounted to relax the federal "austerity" constraints on the state budgets. According to The New York Times at the time, "(p)olitical and financial instability related to Russia's confrontation with Ukraine and the effects of escalating economic sanctions between [the E.U.] and Russia have further clouded the economic outlook." Mired in the austerity vs. fiscal stimulus dichotomy, E.U. leaders may have been missing an opportunity here.
The entire essay is at “Budget Austerity in the E.U.”