News / Europe

EU Moves on Budget Rules, Works to Promote Growth

European Parliament President Martin Schulz holds a news conference during a European Union summit in Brussels, January 30, 2012.
European Parliament President Martin Schulz holds a news conference during a European Union summit in Brussels, January 30, 2012.
Al Pessin

All but two European Union member countries have agreed on new fiscal rules designed to ensure there is not another regional debt crisis, and to regain the confidence of the financial markets.

The 27 European Union heads of government came to Brussels to finalize what is called the “fiscal compact” to avoid future crises, and to find ways to promote economic growth to lift their countries out of the current one.

The accord, which sets strict rules for government budgets, was approved by 25 of the leaders and is to be signed in March. Britain and the Czech Republic did not join the accord. Britain says it would take away too many powers it has to regulate its own economy.

The European leaders have been the targets of much criticism for not doing enough quickly enough to address the debt crisis and accompanying economic downturn. But the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, said the continent's effort is on track.

“We have a strategy, and we are staying the course,” Barroso said.

His colleague, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, said he is not concerned that the two countries did not join the new agreement, saying the 17 that use the common euro currency and other interested countries must be able to work on their problems, even if the EU is not unanimous on the approach.

“With this treaty we maintain as much as possible the unity of the union, taking into account that those who have a common currency have the possibility to deal with the problems linked to their currency,” Van Rompuy said.

The European leaders also took several steps designed to stimulate economic growth, launching programs to help small businesses and to create jobs, particularly for young people. But they acknowledge the effort is difficult at a time when most countries do not have enough money to directly create jobs or stimulate economic growth.

The head of the Brussels-based research organization Friends of Europe, Giles Merritt, says European leaders and their people still have not faced up to the fundamental challenge before them.

“I don't think they've got very good marks from anybody. We all know Europe has been living beyond its means. There has to be a complete sort of restructuring of European society. We all know that. What we don't know is how to do it," Merritt said.

Merritt says European countries can no longer afford the generous social programs they provide to their people, but spending cuts to reduce or eliminate those programs are hugely unpopular.

Monday's summit coincided with a general strike in Belgium, called to protest that government's austerity plans. Merritt says more such actions, what he called “social sulking,” lie ahead as Europe faces a summer of slow growth or recession.

Meanwhile, one of Europe's most troubled economies, Greece, moved closer to agreement with creditors to restructure its debt, and default on part of it. A deal is expected within days, although Greek leaders rejected calls for EU officials to be given veto power over their future budgeting decisions.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid