News / USA

    Europe's Economic Woes Shadow G8 Summit

    Kent Klein
    The leaders of the Group of Eight major economies plan to address Africa's food security when they meet at a mountain retreat near Washington, DC this week.  But, Europe's economic situation will demand much of the group's attention.
     
    The European debt crisis, and its possible effects on the world economy, will be on the minds of the G8 leaders when they meet at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland.

    French President Francois Hollande will be among the new leaders attending their first G8 meeting.  He will visit President Barack Obama at the White House before the summit.  Mr. Hollande replaces Nicolas Sarkozy, who was voted out of office after embracing unpopular austerity measures.

    Few analysts expect the G8 leaders to support a major change in Europe's economic approach.

    But with Greece's continued euro zone membership in jeopardy, Simon Johnson of the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics says the G8 should address a bigger question.

    "Well, hopefully, it's all on the table," said Johnson. "Hopefully, the Americans and the others will be pressing the Europeans to rethink the structure of the euro zone and to come up with something that is much more sustainable, for example, a more unified fiscal entity."

    President Obama repeatedly has expressed confidence that Europe's leaders can solve the problem, and has been reluctant to commit U.S. money to a European bailout.

    Economist Simon Johnson says that if Europe cannot avert a deeper crisis, Mr. Obama might not win reelection in November.

    "The American economy looks somewhat precarious," he said. "The recovery is stuttering.  If there is a major sovereign debt disaster and/or financial market calamity in Europe, that cannot be good for President Obama's reelection prospects."

    One G8 leader will be absent from Camp David.  Recently-inaugurated Russian President Vladimir Putin says he has business to attend to at the Kremlin.  Prime Minister and former president Dmitry Medvedev will attend in his place.

    One of the main agenda items at the G8 Summit will be food security in Africa.  President Obama is expected to announce a new plan to improve agricultural development on the continent.  He has invited the leaders of Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania to Camp David to discuss the issue.

    Kristin Wedding of Global Food Security Project at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies says Mr. Obama is putting a spotlight on the issue.

    "Food security has been really a cornerstone of President Obama's foreign policy agenda," said Wedding. "And by bringing over the four African leaders, he is really wanting to highlight the investments the United States has made in Africa, and the successes we have already seen."

    The Obama administration made a three-year, $3.5 billion commitment in 2009 to long-term global food security and agricultural development.

    Kristin Wedding expects the president to press for continued commitments from other G8 members, and for new donors to contribute.

    "These are really long-term investments that are needed," she said. "So instead of just providing short food aid when there is a famine, these efforts are really intended to improve long-term food security."

    Several of the G8 leaders will go directly from Camp David to Chicago for the NATO Summit.  The G8 summit initially was planned to be held in Chicago, but Mr. Obama moved it to Camp David, a more remote location that is less accessible to protesters.  

    The G8 nations are Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.

    You May Like

    Ethiopia's Anti-terrorism Law: Security or Silencing Dissent?

    Yonatan Tesfaye was detained in December 2015 on charges under Ethiopia's Anti-Terrorism Proclamation; eleven statements from his Facebook page were used as evidence

    Egypt Orders Trial for Journalists Charged With Harboring Reporters

    Order targets journalists' union chief Yehia Qalash, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim for allegedly spreading false news, harboring fugitive colleagues

    Nigerian Oil Production Falls as Militant Attacks Take Toll

    Country no longer Africa's petroleum king due to renewed militancy in its oil-producing region

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahdai
    X
    Lisa Schlein
    May 31, 2016 1:56 PM
    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahda

    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Mobile App Allows Dutch Muslims to Rate their Imams

    If a young Dutch-Moroccan app developer has his way, Muslims in the Netherlands will soon be able to rate their imams online. Mohamed Mouman says imams rarely get feedback from their followers. He believes his app can give prayer leaders a better picture of what's happening in their communities — and can also keep young people from being radicalized. Serginho Roosblad reports from Amsterdam.
    Video

    Video Moscow Condemns NATO Plans to Beef Up Defense in Eastern Europe, Baltics

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday an upcoming "landmark summit" will enhance the alliance's defensive and deterrent presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics. He is visiting Poland ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Zlatica Hoke reports
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video F-35 Fighter Jet Draws Criticisms as Costs Mount

    America’s latest fighter plane, the F-35, has been mired in controversy. Critics cite cost, faulty design, and the attempt to use it to fill multiple roles. Even the pilot’s helmet is controversial. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Concerns Over Civilian Suffering as Iraqi Forces Surround Fallujah

    Thousands of residents are trapped inside the IS-held city ahead of a full scale Iraqi offensive aimed at retaking it.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora