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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The eurozone is an escalating mess and European Central Bank president Mario Draghi is getting out right at the buzzer.

Driving the news: Draghi delivered his final press conference as head of the ECB on Thursday, keeping rates in the 19-member bloc unchanged following the controversial announcement of an interest rate cut to -0.5% and a $22 billion a month bond-buying program at September's meeting.

  • He will hand over control of the central bank to former IMF leader Christine Lagarde who, with no central banking experience, will inherit not just a group of weakening economies, but a squabbling 25-member governing council described by the Wall Street Journal as "warring factions."
  • The committee has split largely based on Draghi's reported 11th-hour decision last month to cut rates and restart the bond purchases it had concluded in December.
  • With Draghi moving on and the rest of the ECB's central bankers at odds over already instituted policy, “everyone is waiting for Christine” one unnamed official told WSJ.

What's happening: The manufacturing sector in the euro area shrank for the ninth consecutive month, data showed Thursday, and remains on the brink of an outright contraction. There are growing signs in the bloc’s largest economy, Germany, that the manufacturing slump is starting to take a toll on employment.

  • Britain, the EU's second-largest economy, is embroiled in a 3-year saga of failed attempts to leave the union, and the union’s other major economies — France, Italy and Spain — are experiencing some of the worst economic and political strife since the financial crisis.
  • While Britain is the only country that has so far voted to leave, political parties skeptical or in outright opposition to the European Union and euro currency are increasing in political power in each of the EU's major countries.

What's next: In addition to a looming recession, a divided governing council and a rising wave of opposition toward European unity, the ECB looks to be out of bullets, as even interest rates well below 0 and trillions in bond purchases have failed to accomplish its stated goals.

Go deeper: Mario Draghi's time is running out

Go deeper

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will not seek re-election in 2022

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) speaking during a press conference in November 2021. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), a moderate who typically ranks as one of the nation's most popular governors, said Wednesday that he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (R) will not seek third terms in 2022.

Why it matters: The decision leaves the gubernatorial race wide open and will likely affect multiple down-ballot races next year. Baker was expected to be the front-runner had he joined the race.

2 hours ago - Health

CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers

Travelers with their luggage arrive at a COVID-19 testing location at the airport in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 23, 2021. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday night that it is working to impose stricter testing requirements for international travelers due to the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The big picture: The new rules would require all international travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to show a negative test taken a day before their flight to the U.S. Currently, the CDC says fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to show a test taken no more than three days before their departure, AP reports.

Republicans threaten to shut down government over vaccine mandates

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Capitol in November 2020. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate are planning to force a government shutdown Friday to deny funding needed to enforce the Biden administration's vaccine mandates on the private sector, according to Politico.

Why it matters: Congress has until the end of the week to pass a stopgap measure to extend funding into 2022, though objection from a small group of Republicans could shut down the government.