News / Europe

EU Finance Ministers Discuss Ways to Save the Euro

From left, Greek Finance Minister Venizelos, French Finance Minister Baroin, Luxembourg's PM Juncker, German Finance Minister Schaeuble, European Commissioner for the Economy Olli Rehn, Italian PM and Finance Minister Mario Monti and Belgium's Finance Min
From left, Greek Finance Minister Venizelos, French Finance Minister Baroin, Luxembourg's PM Juncker, German Finance Minister Schaeuble, European Commissioner for the Economy Olli Rehn, Italian PM and Finance Minister Mario Monti and Belgium's Finance Min
Lisa Bryant

Finance ministers from the 17-nation eurozone are holding another set of talks Tuesday and Wednesday on salvaging their common currency, amid more grim financial news.

New governments in Greece and Italy, two of Europe's most financially troubled countries, have not been enough to reassure markets that the European Union has a handle on its sovereign debt and banking crisis. In new signs of doubt, Italian bond rates are soaring, last week, credit agencies lowered their ratings for Belgium, Portugal and Hungary. And lending among European banks is shrinking.

As finance ministers meet in Brussels Tuesday and Wednesday, ideas are circulating for more radical fiscal changes. France and Germany want a stronger fiscal union among the 17 nations sharing the euro currency, with tougher budget commitments by member states.  That idea was outlined by France's finance minister, Francois Baroin, on Tuesday.

Speaking on French radio, Baroin said the European Union should have two objectives; restoring global confidence in the short term and more budgetary and fiscal integration in the longer term.

EU finance ministers are also expected to discuss another option, eurobonds, essentially a way in which eurozone members guarantee each other's debts. But Germany, the most powerful EU member, opposes the idea.  

Berlin is also against another idea, reinforcing the powers of the European Central Bank, to make it a so-called lender of last resort for the region.

The chief executive officer of the Brussels-based Center for European Policy Studies, Karel Lannoo, says even if EU nations can agree on some of these ideas, they will take time to implement.

"There are short-term issues which have to be decided almost immediately, like preventing the contagion from the solution of Greece, writing off part of its debt, from spreading to other countries," said Lannoo. "And long-term solutions, like seeing whether we can have a federal model, like you have in the United States, of financing the debt of members of the eurozone."

As the eurozone crisis has grown this year, so has criticism that European leaders have been too slow and timid in addressing it. Meeting Monday with top EU officials in Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama again raised concerns that Europe's problems may become America's problems.

"This is of huge importance to our economy if Europe is contracting or if Europe is having difficulties," said Obama. "Then it is much more difficult for us to create jobs here at home because we send so many products and services to Europe. It is such an important trading partner for us."

There is speculation that one or more members, starting with debt-strapped Greece, may leave the currency zone, triggering a domino effect. But Lannoo, for one, believes the eurozone will continue through the difficulties.

"Basically, I think there is no way back. You start to see some studies that look at the cost of a breakdown of the eurozone," said Lannoo, "the more you read about these things, the more you see this is almost unimaginable."

More bailout money for Greece and enlarging the EU bailout fund are also on the ministers' agenda. But the focus is on a December 9 European summit, as pressure mounts for leaders to resolve their debt crisis by the year's end.

You May Like

Video 2nd American Reportedly Killed in Syria

Minnesota television report says Abdirahman Muhumed left area to fight for Islamic State militants More

WHO Fears Ebola Outbreak Could Infect 20,000 People

World Health Organization says outbreak 'continues to accelerate' but that most cases are concentrated in a few local areas More

Angelina Jolie Marries Brad Pitt

Actors wed in small private ceremony Saturday in France 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid