News / Europe

    European Finance Chiefs Meet on Debt Crisis

    (L-R) Luxembourg's Prime Minister and Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, Germany's Deputy Finance Minister Joerg Asmussen and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble talk at the start of an eurozone finance minist
    (L-R) Luxembourg's Prime Minister and Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, Germany's Deputy Finance Minister Joerg Asmussen and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble talk at the start of an eurozone finance minist
    Henry Ridgwell

    European leaders converge on Brussels Sunday for a crucial summit aimed at forging a plan to save the euro currency. As Greece struggles to avoid a default on its debts, EU leaders must try to stop the crisis from spreading to much bigger economies like Italy and Spain, which could threaten the future of the European Union itself.

    Two days of violent protests and strikes preceded Greece's latest effort to slash government spending.  Defying the protesters, Prime Minister Papandreou succeeded in getting the latest round of austerity measures passed in Parliament, vital to secure the next slice of European and IMF bailout money.

    That will give encouragement to European leaders. After months of turmoil and credit downgrades, Sunday's summit is billed as the moment Europe must finally come together to stem the tide of its debt crisis. German Chancellor Angela Merkel struck an upbeat tone ahead of the meeting.



    "If we want to use the crisis as an opportunity," Merkel said, "if we are determined to have more Europe, then we must seize the crisis as an opportunity and be prepared for unconventional and quicker action."

    Few leaders appear confident of a quick agreement; a second summit has already been penciled in for Wednesday next week.  By then, France and Germany say they will have bridged their differences on how Europe's bailout fund should be strengthened.

    Analysts say the initial focus will be on how to pump more capital into troubled banks. And that's just the start.

    Europe needs to show it will bail out bigger countries like Italy and Spain if they caught in a debt spiral, says Tobias Blattner of Daiwa Capital Markets.

    "They need to increase the firepower of the bailout fund so that we finally stop contagion and there are no worries about an eventual Italian default," said Blattner.  "This is what they have to do. But unfortunately how it looks now is that the proposals, how they want to leverage this temporary bailout fund, will not be enough. And this is why the summit will most likely disappoint financial market participants."

    Tim Ohlenburg of London analyst group the Center for Economic and Business Research says more radical measures are needed for investors to regain confidence in Europe.

    "We think there's hope for the eurozone in the long term overall if Europe manages to put a new institutional framework in place and manages either to let go of economies that are not viable in the euro, or find a transfer mechanism," said Ohlenburg.

    No eurozone leader dares to talk in public of weaker members dropping the currency. But the only alternative, says Olehnburg, is a truly federal Europe.

    "I think the only way to put an end to this situation, in general, is treaty change," added Ohlenburg.  "More power to Europe, closer integration, fiscal union."

    Such is the gravity of its debt crisis that Europe's very foundations are up for debate.

    You May Like

    Wife of IS Leader Charged in Death of US Hostage

    Suspect allegedly admitted to being responsible for American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who officials say was sexually abused and ‘owned’ by one IS member

    Year of the Monkey Could Prove Economic Balancing Act for China

    China is up against a tricky situation on the financial front, facing the need to fight capital flight while also stopping a further slide of foreign currency reserves

    Runners Attempt 26-mile South Pole Marathon in Sub-Zero Temperatures

    How alluring is running 26.2 miles at 10,000 feet when it’s minus 31 Celsius out?

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.