News / Europe

European Debt Crisis Summit Starts

British Prime Minister David Cameron, center, speaks with the media as he arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Dec. 8, 2011.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, center, speaks with the media as he arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Dec. 8, 2011.

European leaders have started a two-day summit in Brussels in the latest effort to resolve the continent's debt crisis and save the euro.

Some officials have described the European summit as a moment of reckoning for the common currency, under siege by Europe's burgeoning debt crisis.  But before the meeting opened Thursday night, there remained a divergence of opinion on exactly how to resolve the two-year debt contagion that threatens the stability of the world economy.

U.S. President Barack Obama told reporters in Washington that Europe is prosperous enough to resolve the debt crisis if its leaders have the political will to act.

"Europe is wealthy enough that there is no reason why they can't solve this problem," said President Obama. "It is not as if we are talking about some impoverished country that doesn't have any resources and is being buffeted by the world markets and they need to come hat in hand and get help.  This is Europe with some of the wealthiest countries on earth, collectively one of the largest markets on earth, if not the largest."

The economy in the 17-nation bloc that uses the euro has all but stalled, with some analysts saying it has already dipped into a recession. The European Central Bank took a modest step ahead of the summit to boost lending, trimming its prime interest rate a quarter percentage point to one percent, the second cut in two months.

But stocks slid on European and U.S. exchanges after the bank's president, Mario Draghi, dampened speculation that the central bank would increase its purchase of the debt of European governments as one way to cut their borrowing costs. A European regulator said the continent's banks need to raise nearly $154 billion to cover possible losses on government securities they hold.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are calling for the eurozone nations to curb excessive spending and impose strict penalties on violators.  Their plan would also create a unified corporate tax rate and a new financial transaction tax.

President Sarkozy said an agreement is essential.

"Everyone can understand that if on Friday we don't find an agreement, there is no second chance," said President Sarkozy. "I call for the spirit of compromise and speedy decision making."


Before heading to Brussels, the German and French leaders tried to rally support for their plan during a meeting of the center-right European People's Party in the French city of Marseilles. Senior officials said late Wednesday that final agreement may not be reached at the summit.  

One German official told the Associated Press that it might be Christmas (December 25) before a deal is reached.  Another senior official was quoted as saying that some countries "have not understood the seriousness of the situation.

Fears that Europe's debt crisis could spark additional problems have sent jitters through the global financial markets and have prompted warnings from several top credit rating agencies.

Britain, which has its own currency, the pound, has indicated that it may not be willing to sign on to new EU treaty provisions.  Prime Minister David Cameron said earlier this week that he will defend Britain's financial interests at the summit.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Multimedia Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid