Some experts say that slowing down the push for budget balancing — though not abandoning it — while stimulating the economy could form the basis of a more successful EU approach to the crisis.
But there are more radical voices on the rise. Alexis Tsipras, the left-wing politician now trying to form a government in Greece, wants to pull out of the agreement under which the country is receiving bailout funds.
Samaras said that would bring catastrophe.
"The Greek people have not given a mandate to destroy the country, nor to leave the euro," Samaras said. "Quite the opposite. And those who understood something like that are altering and misinterpreting the electoral result."
As the political wrangling in Greece continues, the question of whether the union will hold together, whether Robert Schuman's dream will survive, hangs in the balance.
EU leaders, while they have been accused of often being a half-step late in their responses to the series of crises, have nevertheless shown strong and durable political will in their efforts to save the European project.
They have faced down other crises that felt more immediately threatening, such as in December, when it was unknown whether Greece would fulfill the conditions to receive a €130 billion rescue package.
But De Grauwe says Europe is today entering more treacherous terrain.
"This is in a way deeper, because it's more political," he said. "It's testing the political viability of the project."
Elena Becatoros in Athens contributed to this report.
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