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

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 Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

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

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
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 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