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.
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid