News / Economy

EU Finance Ministers Delay Aid Decision

The head of Eurozone finance ministers' group, Jean-Claude Juncker, addresses the media during a news conference in Wroclaw, Poland, September 16, 2011.
The head of Eurozone finance ministers' group, Jean-Claude Juncker, addresses the media during a news conference in Wroclaw, Poland, September 16, 2011.

European officials are delaying a decision to offer more bailout funds to debt-strapped Greece, as they address a spreading financial crisis. The announcement came as U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made an unprecedented appearance at a European Union finance ministers' meeting in Poland.

European Union officials say they will decide in October about whether to pay another $11-billion installment of bailout funds to Greece pending a clear plan from Athens about how it will tackle its enormous debt.

At a press conference in Worclaw, Poland, Jean-Claude Juncker, who heads the group of 17 eurozone finance ministers, says whether Greece meets its promises is critical.  "The continued full implementation of the adjustment program remains crucial to ensure fiscal sustainability, safeguard financial stability and boost competitiveness of the Greek economy," he said.

The finance meeting comes amid mounting international alarm that Europe's debt crisis -- which began with Greece, Portugal and Ireland -- is spreading. Underscoring Washington's concern, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner joined his European partners at Friday's meeting. The Reuters news agency reports that Geithner urged the Europeans to work in a coordinated manner to tackle the crisis.

Europe was hit with more bad news this week, when Moody's credit agency downgraded the rating of two major French banks that are highly exposed to the Greek debt. In a bid to ease the pressure, five of the world's major central banks agreed Thursday to inject dollars into Europe's struggling banking system.

At the same time, European Economic Commissioner Olli Rehn noted a new EU report showing a significant slowdown in European growth. "In a nutshell, uncertainty and stress in the financial markets is now having negative ramifications in the real economy, and it is hampering our growth prospects," Rehn said.

European finance officials have called on governments to swiftly ratify a deal reached in July to expand the scope of their bailout fund and on a new bailout package for Greece. But governments disagree over the details, and only a handful of nations have ratified the agreement to date.

Thomas Klau, who heads the European Council on Foreign Relations' Paris office, says European officials are right to press Greece's prime minister, George Papandreou, on reforms.

"Any indication from the partners in Europe and across the Atlantic that they would be satisfied with a glass half, three-quarters or even three-fifths full might really be quite fatal in terms of enabling Mr. Papandreou to really change the way the Greek state performs," Klau said.

But Klau joins many analysts in faulting European governments for being slow to address the crisis, which is spreading alarm in the markets. Beyond quick action, Simon Tilford, chief economist for the London-based Center for European Reform, says European governments need to fundamentally change the way they handle the crisis.

"Despite mounting evidence that the current strategy is not working, instead of reassessing the strategy, eurozone policymakers are essentially digging their feet in and just persisting with a strategy that isn't working. And that is very worrisome," Tilford said.

Analysts fear that Europe's financial crisis could erupt into the kind of full-blown international catastrophe witnessed in 2008 -- except this time, it would cross the Atlantic from Europe to the United States.

You May Like

British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign Jihadists More

Audio Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7492
JPY
USD
102.27
GBP
USD
0.5960
CAD
USD
1.0950
INR
USD
61.300

Rates may not be current.