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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More