But in one key respect, the new focus on the euro underscores an increasingly troubling economic reality: the tensions caused by growing economic divergence among the 12 countries that use the euro. This is a sharp reversal from the 1990s, when candidates for the single currency moved aggressively to bring their economies in line by slashing budget deficits and keeping a tight lid on spending to bring down inflation. Now Europe has entered a period of "deconvergence" in the jargon of some economists, as bad habits creep back in. In a scolding report on public finances last week, the European Commission noted that, while Belgium, Finland and Ireland had balanced budgets, four members — Germany, Greece, France and Italy — had allowed their budget deficits to grow beyond the 3% limit laid down in the rules of the single currency, and that the overall debt level of the euro countries is creeping up again from 70.8% of gross domestic product in 2003 to 71.3% in 2004 and a projected 71.7% this year. The debt level isn't supposed to exceed 60% of GDP.