News / Europe

EU Leaders Meet Amid More Grim Economic News

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, right, welcomes Greek Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, May 23, 2012.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, right, welcomes Greek Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, May 23, 2012.
Lisa Bryant
PARIS - European leaders gather for an informal dinner summit in Brussels Wednesday, dominated by increasing calls for growth measures and gloomy news about the state of the eurozone economy. France's new president Francois Hollande is expected to champion a particularly controversial measure - eurobonds.

This latest meeting of European Union leaders takes place amid a changed political and economic landscape. To be sure, the main problem facing the 27 European leaders remains the same; creating jobs and growing the troubled eurozone economy. Pressure for strong and speedy action is mounting amid fears that the eurozone's weakest member - Greece - may soon exit the 17-nation currency union, a move that may spark a larger crisis.

"I don't think the eurozone has turned the corner," said Thomas Klau, who heads the Paris office of the European Council on Foreign Relations. "It's turned the corner in terms of the political will. I think the mainstream parties across the eurozone are very strongly committed to keeping the eurozone intact and see it through this crisis. But I don't think they've done enough to make that commitment work in practice."

European leaders received more grim economic news this week. A report by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned the eurozone risked severe recession. The OECD's chief economist Pier Carlo Padoan called for swift action.

"Things have begun to deteriorate again recently. So we cannot rule out a downside scenario which, if ignited, could lead to serious repercussions worldwide," Padoan warned.

EU leaders are facing growing calls for injecting growth measures along with budget cuts in dealing with the eurozone crisis. That message was delivered by U.S. President Barack Obama at the Group of Eight summit at Camp David last week.

"Today we agreed that we must take steps to boost confidence and to promote growth and demand while getting our fiscal houses in order," Obama said. "We agreed to the importance of a strong and cohesive eurozone and affirmed our interest in Greece's staying in the eurozone while respecting its commitments."

France's new President Francois Hollande will be bringing that message to Brussels, during his first meeting with his European counterparts. His strong support of growth puts him at odds with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who also wants strong doses of austerity and structural reforms.

The leaders of Europe's largest economies are also split on the concept of eurobonds - jointly issued bonds that could fund just about anything and might eventually replace the debt of a given EU country. Merkel is against them.  But Hollande will push for eurobonds during the Brussels summit.

French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici says all options will be considered in Brussels, including eurobonds. The idea is gaining traction in Europe. Several top EU officials, including European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, are for them.

At a recent news conference, Barroso outlined a more modest pilot of "project bonds."
It will be a completely new mechanism and system of getting some financing and investment in projects that are important in Europe.

Analyst Klau says these specific project bonds are one area where France and Germany can agree.

"That's essentially a joint bond-finance infrastructure  project - roads for example - which would provide long-term stimulus to the economy," Klau said.

European leaders will likely be discussing other ways to stimulate Europe's economy, along with helping out large and troubled European banks, like those in Spain, which are floundering during the economic crisis.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid