Greece and Ireland were shining examples, it seemed, of what Europe could do for struggling economies.
From the moment the Greeks entered the eurozone in 2001 the economy appeared to take off. Growth was initially fuelled by low interest rates and a burst of foreign investment. The triumphant return of the Olympics to Athens in 2004 crowned a dizzying period of success. Behind the faÃ§ade a bloated public sector, tax avoidance on a grand scale and dishonest bookkeeping that misled Europe about the true state of the Greek economy told a very different story. Greece has had to go cap in hand to the European powerhouses to beg for a bailout.
In Ireland the road that was taken to economic ruin was a different one but the result the same. An economy that seemed to be the pride of Europe - the so-called "Celtic Tiger" - was in reality a house of cards. It came tumbling down under the weight of unsustainable public debt and a wildly overheated property market.
Travelling to both countries, Chris Bowlby meets the ordinary people who were caught up in the Euroland dream. They are the middle class who bought in to Europe, who believed that the way forward was secure and certain. Now many are facing tough choices that affect their homes, their families, their jobs. Their governments are implementing tough austerity programmes and raising taxes. Jobless rates are soaring and disaffected youth feel angry, ignored and alienated.
Both Greece and Ireland were diaspora countries. The brightest and the best often left in search of better lives. For a brief time at the turn of this century that picture changed. Greece and Ireland were no longer exporting their people. But with many of the benefits of European unity now at least temporarily taken away, many are thinking again about leaving.
In the streets of Athens and Dublin, in pubs and music halls, in family homes and businesses, Chris Bowlby listens to the stories of people who are facing an uncertain time. Tough new austerity measures, with massive cuts in public spending and services, cuts in their own salaries, job losses, inflation - it is altogether a far different future than the one they believed they were moving towards. And he asks whether they still believe in the European dream.
Presenter: Chris Bowlby
Producer: Bill Law.