News / Europe

EU Divided on New Deal to Save Eurozone

Slovenia's Prime Minister Barut Pahor (L), Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) and Finland's Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen attend a European Union summit in Brussels December 9, 2011.
Slovenia's Prime Minister Barut Pahor (L), Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) and Finland's Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen attend a European Union summit in Brussels December 9, 2011.
Lisa Bryant

Stock markets and the value the euro currency rose after most members of the European Union agreed to a new deal Friday, increasing their economic ties to save the struggling eurozone. But reaction is mixed about the agreement, cobbled together after marathon talks among European leaders in Brussels.

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi reacted positively to the agreement for stronger fiscal ties and better control over government budgets.

"It's a very good outcome for the euro area, very good. It's quite close to a good fiscal compact, and certainly it's going to be the basis for a much more disciplined economic policy for euro-area members, and certainly it's going to be helpful in the present situation," Draghi said.

Graphic map of countries that use the Euro

Twenty-three of the EU's 27 members have agreed to the pact, championed by economic heavyweights France and Germany to make sure Europe's sovereign debt and banking crisis doesn't happen again.  That includes all 17 members of the embattled eurozone. But at a final press conference on Friday, European Union president Herman von Rumpoy said three more countries are considering joining - which would leave Britain as the single holdout.

"Our preference went to a full-fledged treaty change with the 27, changing the treaties of the Eurpean Union. We tried it, but because there was not a unanimous decision, we have to take another decision," he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed the deal as a success.  She said those who opted to create a new fiscal union chose a future of more solidarity and economic coherence which will make the euro currency more secure.

EU members adhering to the new treaty must commit to keeping their deficits below 0.5 percent of their economic output - or risk sanctions.  The pact is expected to be signed by March. European leaders also agreed on other measures to stop the eurozone crisis from spreading - like giving the International Monetary Fund another $260 billion to bolster financial firewalls.

But Simon Tilford, chief economist of the London-based Center for European Reform, says the new treaty does nothing to resolve to resolve Europe's debt crisis.

"The problem is that fiscal austerity will not solve this crisis - at least not alone," Tilford said. "Fiscal austerity has in many ways been part of the crisis. Enforcing unending austerity on the countries in the periphery has already made their predicaments much worse and threatens to make a bad situation in Spain and Italy already worse than it currently is."

Other analysts fear the deal weakens European unity - with one group of countries part of the new pact and another out of it.  British Prime Minister David Cameron defended his decision to reject the treaty - and offered another vision of Europe.

"We're not in the euro, and I'm glad we're not in the euro," Cameron said. "So i think the idea of Europe being more of a network - you choose those organizations you join, you choose those organizations you don't join - is actually a way in which Britain can get what we want and what we need in Europe."

Analyst Tilford says whether Britain and others will be weaker for opting out of the fiscal pact depends on what happens to the eurozone.

"If the eurozone does master this crisis and holds together, we're likely to see increased integration within participating countries within the eurozone, and Britain will become progressively marginalized within the EU," Tilford said.

But if the eurozone crisis drags on and the euro area fractures, he says, that's another story. And Tilford sees nothing in the new pact EU leaders agreed on that makes him optimistic about the euro's future.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs