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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs