“To go from point A to point B in Europe is rarely a straight line. Actually, trying to take a straight line is often the best way not to get to destination.” This is one of the lessons drawn by Marco Buti, one of the very few top policy makers who went through the fi nancial and the sovereign debt crises and, lately, the pandemic crisis, which plagued the European Union over the past twelve years. This book, which brings together his real time input to the economic and policy debate, traces the intellectual journey leading to the design and implementation under duress of diffi cult policies and controversial reforms. His contribution is the graphic demonstration of Jean Monnet’s dictum that Europe will be forged in crises and will be the outcome of the responses to those crises. The book explains the analytical and empirical foundations of European policy choices that involved a delicate balance between economic, institutional and political considerations. What emerges is a new compass that helps understand the policy strategy the EU has adopted to fi ght the economic fallout of the pandemic.