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Flags of the European Union countries are hoisted in front of the European Parliament in the French eastern city of Strasbourg. - 


There are some conflicting messages coming out of Europe today. The Wall Street Journal reports
banks in Europe aren't as healthy as they claim.
Many of them underwent stress tests just a couple of months ago, similar to what American banks did last year, similar to what American banks did last year. The paper says a lot of those banks are holding more risky debt from countries such as Greece.

And then there's this from some economists: Europe is actually in better shape than the U.S. In fact, the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, today signaled Europe's optimism. A role reversal indeed from earlier in the year, when Europe was seen as the economic problem child. That prompts the big question: Is there still concern about the health of Europe's economy?

The BBC's Ben Shore reports.

BEN SHORE: President Barroso is confident that the European Union is in better shape than it was a year ago. It's a welcome change for Europe, which for months has been the sick man of the world economy. Greek debt plunged the region into crisis and raised fears the euro currency would collapse.

And President Barroso acknowledged huge challenges ahead.

PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO: Our work is far from finished; there is no room for complacency, namely the problem of unemployment is an extremely serious problem.

While the economic picture in the U.S. is getting worse right now -- growth in the EU will be higher this year than initially forecast.

Nevertheless, no one is kidding themselves the region's out of the woods just yet.

In Brussels, I'm the BBC's Ben Shore for Marketplace.