News / Europe

European Leaders Call for Tighter Fiscal Control

Euro banknotesEuro banknotes
Euro banknotes
Euro banknotes
VOA News
Key European leaders are calling for much tighter central control of spending by the 17 countries that use the euro in the latest effort to resolve the continent's unrelenting debt crisis.

Four officials produced the plan Tuesday - European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi. They described the ability to "correct unsustainable fiscal policies" of the individual eurozone governments as "essential."

Barroso said fiscal discipline would be mandatory.

"In a more integrated economic and monetary union, sound fiscal positions will not be optional," said Barroso. "They will be non-negotiable. We propose to look at further steps that may require changes to the [European Union] treaty. Let me tell you here that fiscal union is about much more than just eurobonds or stability bonds. It also means more coordination in taxation policy and a much stronger European approach to budgetary matters at national and European level."
The seven-page plan appeared aimed at pushing economic powerhouse Germany toward closer, continent-wide fiscal integration, including the eventual sale of jointly issued eurobonds supported by the currency bloc as a whole, rather than individual governments. But Germany has resisted the creation of eurobonds, fearing its borrowing costs would increase and that debt-ridden countries would have less incentive to resolve their financial problems.

Germany showed no sign of changing its position, with Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Link saying that pooling of debt would lead "toward a dead end."

The eurozone financial proposals came as the finance ministers of France, Germany, Italy and Spain were set for debt crisis talks Tuesday evening in Paris ahead of other key meetings this week.

The meeting of the finance chiefs is taking place on the eve of joint talks between French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel aimed at reaching some sort of accord before a crucial European Union summit begins Thursday in Brussels.

French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici told a local radio network the eurozone has begun to move away from the idea of austerity as a means of solving the crisis that threatens the existence of the currency union.

"I will start with growth: on this aspect, the election of Francois Hollande really changed things in Europe," said Moscovici. "A growth pact has already been adopted, with our propositions, which represents 120  to 130 million euros.  These are the right steps.  There is also a pact that concerns banks: we have to set up  mechanisms for bank recapitalization which would allow them to face the difficulties of the banking system.  And there is integration, which in the end, in the long term, will lead to euro obligations."

The Paris meeting is taking place as two more eurozone nations, Spain and Cyprus, sought bailouts for their financially troubled banks.  

Spain is asking for up to $125 billion to rescue banks left holding bad real estate loans, while Cyprus says its banks are vulnerable because of their "large exposure" to the economy in nearby debt-ridden Greece.  Cypriot-held Greek government bonds were written down in value earlier this year.

In all, five countries have now sought rescue packages, including earlier bailouts for Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

In Washington, the White House says President Barack Obama spoke Monday with new Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and congratulated him on his election.  Mr. Obama urged the prime minister to work closely with the European Union and International Monetary Fund in implementing Greece's economic reforms.

Mr. Samaras says he wants to renegotiate the terms of the two multi-billion-dollar EU and IMF bailouts for Greece, to extend the mandate for a budget surplus by two years to 2016.

He named a new finance minister for his fledgling government, Yannis Stournaras, an economics professor and head of a Greek think tank, after his first choice to be the finance chief resigned for health reasons.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Afghanistan, Pakistan Leaders to Hold Icebreaking Talks in Paris

Two sides are expected to discuss ways to ease bilateral tensions and jointly work for resumption of stalled peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban officials

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Observer from: Everywhere
June 26, 2012 3:50 PM
Greeks need to own their mistakes, they need to recognize they were reckless getting into the EU. Unless they own it they will not be able to see the path forward, and stop thinking someone pushed you into the troubles you dug in for yourselves. The fact is the previous national government messed it up for the youth and vulnerable, it's now time to work toward correcting those mistakes. Such as, raising retirement age to a mandatory 65 by the 2020, lower pension payments to (in order to encourage able people take part time job), implement tax reform and most importantly debt repayment plans. No one forced Greece to spend recklessly, learn from past mistakes and accept responsibilities for flawed Greek national character, cheating the system and tax-evasion.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs