News / USA

Europe's Economic Woes Shadow G8 Summit

TEXT SIZE - +
Kent Klein
Euro Economic Woes Shadow G8 Summiti
|| 0:00:00
X
May 16, 2012 12:46 AM
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 this week. But as VOA’s Kent Klein reports, Europe’s economic crisis will demand much of the group’s attention
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid