A tram passes the giant Euro symbol outside the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) on November 5, 2012 in Frankfurt, Germany. - 

As this year comes to a close, we're still in the middle of fiscal cliff negotiations and national debt problems here in the United States. A worrisome end to a tough economic year.

But for Europe it was a slightly different story: This year was actually an encouraging one for many European nations, who have been struggling through a debt crisis since 2009. Marketplace's European Bureau Chief Stephen Beard says European Central Bank president Mario Draghi's bond buying program and the decision to keep Greece in the euro both played a big role in abating the crisis.

Beard says "the crisis has had the effect of forcing the 17 core countries in the euro closer together, but how far this process of integration can go without inflaming nationalist sentiment, that's going to be the big question in the years ahead."