News / Europe

    In Brussels, EU Leaders Focus on Growth

    France's President Francois Hollande (R) talks to the media as he arrives at an informal EU leaders summit in Brussels, May 23, 2012.France's President Francois Hollande (R) talks to the media as he arrives at an informal EU leaders summit in Brussels, May 23, 2012.
    x
    France's President Francois Hollande (R) talks to the media as he arrives at an informal EU leaders summit in Brussels, May 23, 2012.
    France's President Francois Hollande (R) talks to the media as he arrives at an informal EU leaders summit in Brussels, May 23, 2012.
    Lisa BryantMike Richman
    PARIS - Leaders of the 27 nations that comprise the European Union have opened a summit aimed at solving the bloc's debt crisis.

    The dinner summit in Brussels will be dominated by increasing calls for growth measures, the creation of jobs and stimulating the troubled eurozone economy, which has been hit with grim news. This week, the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned that the eurozone risked severe recession.

    The EU's focus has shifted from austerity to pro-growth policies since the election of Socialist Francois Hollande as president of France and the political stalemate in Greece, where voters rejected the political parties that agreed to severe budget cuts in exchange for a financial bailout package. Hollande's influence is at odds with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has led the austerity drive since the debt crisis began.

    An economist with the U.S.-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Uri Dadush, said the austerity measures will prevail in the end because the markets will not finance current or increased levels of debt.

    Pressure for strong and speedy action is mounting amid fears that the eurozone's weakest member, Greece, may soon exit the 17-nation currency union, a move that could spark a larger crisis.

    Thomas Klau, head of the Paris office of the European Council on Foreign Relations, said the eurozone has a long way to go before regaining stability.

    "I don't think the eurozone has turned the corner," Klau said. "It's turned the corner in terms of the political will. I think the mainstream parties across the eurozone are very strongly committed to keeping the eurozone intact and see it through this crisis. But I don't think they've done enough to make that commitment work in practice."

    All ideas on the table

    According to European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, no ideas for resolving the issues are unacceptable for Wednesday's summit. He also said long-term solutions should be explored.

    The ideas expected to be raised include issuing so-called eurobonds, under which wealthier European nations would guarantee the borrowing costs of financially struggling countries. Merkel is adamantly opposed to eurobonds, a stance shared by Finland, The Netherlands and Austria.

    But the idea of eurobonds is gaining traction in Europe. Some top EU officials, including European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, support them.

    Barroso recently outlined a modest pilot of "project bonds." He described them as a "completely new mechanism and system of getting some financing and investment in projects that are important in Europe." Klau said the "project bonds" are one area where France and Germany can agree.

    The European Parliament just agreed to a pilot program that would use nearly $300 million of "project bonds" in 2012 and 2013 to finance about $5.8 billion in investment projects.

    Obama weighs in

    Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama weighed in on the eurozone crisis. At the Group of Eight summit just outside Washington, he called for EU leaders to inject growth measures and make budget cuts to stimulate the European economy.

    "Today, we agreed that we must take steps to boost confidence and to promote growth and demand while getting our fiscal houses in order," Obama said. "We agreed to the importance of a strong and cohesive eurozone and affirmed our interest in Greece's staying in the eurozone while respecting its commitments."

    In addition to discussing ways to stimulate Europe's economy, leaders at the Brussels summit may also consider helping large and troubled European banks like those in Spain that are struggling during the crisis.

    But no major decisions are expected until another summit in late June, shortly after Greece holds a new round of elections.

    Mike Richman reported from Washington.

    You May Like

    How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Probe Targeting China's Statistic Head Sparks Concern

    Economists now asking what prompted government to launch an investigation only months after Wang Baoan had been vetted for crucial job

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    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 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 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 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.