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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs