News / Europe

    European Economic Crisis Persists as EU Questions Greek Commitment

    A Greek five-cent euro coin depicting a tanker is seen amongst other coins in Athens, Greece, February 15, 2012.
    A Greek five-cent euro coin depicting a tanker is seen amongst other coins in Athens, Greece, February 15, 2012.
    Al Pessin

    The European economic crisis shows no signs of abating, as several countries face downgrades in their credit ratings and some European leaders see the tough austerity measures adopted by Greece, in the face of huge protests, as being nonetheless inadequate.  

    Thousands of Greeks, many of them prosperous and middle class until recently, crowded into the streets outside the parliament and clashed with police.

    Inside, parliament members adopted a plan to cut additional billions of euros from the country’s budget.

    Greece is in its fifth year of recession, with only more pain in sight. Its European Union partners are insisting on more details of the austerity program, and guarantees the plan will be implemented, before they will approve additional credit. Without more cash, Greece will default on debt payments next month.

    A parliamentary election is scheduled for April, and some Greek politicians are saying enough is enough.

    “After this difficult vote goes through, we would like to see our allies, our European allies show the respect that Greece needs, to show that Europe is here to really help and soothe the pain of the Greeks," said Olga Kefalogianni of the New Democracy Party.

    At the Economist Intelligence Unit in London, analyst Martin Koehring said austerity is needed in Greece, but he acknowledged the cuts have had a severe impact.  

    “The pace of this fiscal austerity is going too fast, even though the European leaders even say it’s not going fast enough. The message is that Greece will be on life-support for the foreseeable future,” said Koehring.

    Koehring and other analysts say the wealthier European countries are ignoring the need for economic growth in Greece and the other troubled economies. They say that without growth, the countries will not be able to recover in the long term, and their people may well reject plans that promise years, or even decades, of suffering.

    EU expert Thomas Fischer of the Bertelsmann Foundation said as much at a recent conference in Brussels.

    “The focus has been on national austerity policies. The focus on growth and jobs is much weaker than the one on fiscal consolidation. That is our basic problem, I suppose, ” said Fischer.

    The fallout of the European debt crisis has reached even to countries that are relatively healthy economically, including Britain. On Monday, credit rating agency Moody’s put a negative watch on Britain, putting its AAA rating in jeopardy. And the agency also simultaneously downgraded several other European countries.

    Martin Keohring was not surprised.

    "Probably Moody’s is right in highlighting that the situation for the U.K. is very dangerous. The general economic outlook is weak because the U.K. is very exposed to the euro zone,” said Keohring.

    While anger in Greece boils over into the streets, European leaders face a dilemma. They need both austerity and growth at the same time, and experts say that is a difficult combination to achieve.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.