News / Europe

Europe Central Bank Lowers Rates

The European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi speaks during the monthly news conference in Frankfurt, December 8, 2011.
The European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi speaks during the monthly news conference in Frankfurt, December 8, 2011.
Lisa Bryant

The European Central Bank lowered its benchmark interest rate Thursday to a record 1.0 percent. The move by the bank to help stimulate Europe's economy came as France and Germany urged other European leaders to adopt their eurozone crisis plan at a key summit in Brussels.

Just hours before the start of the European Union summit, French and German leaders were in the southern French city of Marseilles, making a final pitch to overhaul key European treaties.

In an address to fellow European conservatives, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the 17-nation euro currency union needed more solidarity, more discipline and more governance. The longer European leaders wait to make a decision, he said, the costlier and less efficient it will be.

Mr. Sarkozy and his German counterpart, Angela Merkel, will be making that argument during the two-day summit in Brussels. Analysts say their plan may take years to be implemented - while the eurozone crisis needs immediate solutions. But the pair argues Europe's very foundations must be changed to save the currency union.

Mr. Sarkozy said EU leaders need to re-found and rethink Europe. If not, the same causes will produce the same effects.  

There are already indications that some EU members - notably Britain - are skeptical about their proposals. But in Marseilles, Chancellor Merkel said that France and Germany want all 27 EU states to adopt their plan.

"I'm sure that we need all 17 members of the eurozone, that we demonstrate that we are willing to be open...and that we will be able to move forward if we are all in agreement - i.e., all 27 members of the European Union," Merkel said.

The two leaders do have a "plan B." If all 27 members do not accept their plan, they will push the 17 eurozone members to adopt it.

The eurozone debt crisis and fears of a looming recession prompted the European Central Bank (ECB) to announce Thursday it is cutting its benchmark interest rate by a quarter-percent for the second month in a row. At a press conference in Frankfurt, the ECB's new chief, Mario Draghi, also signaled the bank was expanding emergency funding to cash-strapped banks.

"A number of factors seem to be dampening the growth momentum in the euro area," said Draghi. "They include a moderation in the pace of global demand growth, and unfavorable effects on overall financing conditions and on confidence resulting from ongoing tensions in euro-area sovereign debt markets as well as process of balance-sheet adjustments in financial and non-financial areas."

While Draghi predicted a better economic forecast next year, ratings agency Standard & Poor's dumped more bad news on Europe - warning on Wednesday it might cut the credit rating of the European Union and that of top European banks. It has already warned it might downgrade the ratings of 15 eurozone countries.

In an interview on French radio, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Junker - who also heads the euro group of countries - expressed surprise at the S&P move.

Asked if he was optimistic the EU leaders could reach agreement during their summit, Mr. Junker was blunt. The leaders, he said, have to reach an agreement.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid