This article focuses on which mechanisms enabled the eurozone to escape from gridlock. At present, the EU is in a state of profound and multiple crises. Nonetheless, it managed to bring about a medium-term stabilisation of its banking system and economic governance, and a systemic implosion has so far been prevented. Considering that crucial regulations in the financial markets and economic governance are not a new idea but had been politically blocked for many years preceding the crisis, it is a major political science puzzle how and why the reforms were actually possible in an acute crisis. Drawing on Fritz W. Scharpf’s theory of the joint-decision trap, the article evaluates if, how and under what conditions crisis situations actually make a difference. Can crises possibly introduce dynamics that ‒ at times ‒ help overcome stalemate? Nine EU policies are being considered. The conclusions discuss insights for the EU’s overall system development.