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 Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Mali, a Way Station for Syrians Headed to Europe

    Another door may be closing for Syrians fleeing the conflict in their country, this time in Africa

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

    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.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora