If anyone can save the euro, it’s Angela Merkel. And the German chancellor made clear Wednesday that she is determined to save the single currency — as long as it is on German terms.

Euro angst dominated the opening session of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Europe’s debt crisis remains the biggest cloud hanging over the global economy. In fact, while in Europe this week, several key forum participants are frantically trying to negotiate the terms of a Greek debt rescheduling to prevent the country from defaulting.

A panel of bankers and economists organized on the margins of the forum by the U.K. law firm Clifford Chance offered plenty of pessimism about monetary union.

“The euro is fundamentally flawed,” said Gerald Lyons, chief economist at Standard Chartered Bank. EU leaders let too many countries with too varied levels of competitiveness join the euro at the start, and those disparities have grown, rather than shrunk, over the past decade, he noted. And Europe’s prescription for the debt crisis — tough austerity in Greece, Portugal and other countries on the periphery — is politically dubious and economically self-defeating.

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