News / Economy

Germany Approves Euro Bailout Increase

German Chancellor Angela Merkel walks after voting at the session of the Bundestag lower house of parliament in Berlin, September 29, 2011
German Chancellor Angela Merkel walks after voting at the session of the Bundestag lower house of parliament in Berlin, September 29, 2011

Europe's efforts to stem its financial crisis cleared a hurdle Thursday as Germany's lower house approved plans to expand a bailout fund for Greece and other shaky eurozone economies. The vote comes as financial inspectors are in Athens to assess the government's progress in implementing austerity measures.

Germany's lower parliament easily passed a measure to expand the European Union's bailout fund, formally known as the European Financial Stability Facility. European leaders agreed to expand the fund in July, but it needs to be ratified by all 17 nations sharing the euro currency.

The German vote was especially crucial since Germany is Europe's biggest economy. Berlin is also expected to contribute the largest share of the bailout fund. Public opposition has been growing against paying for what many Germans believe is the inability of Greece and other debt-strapped economies to manage their finances.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also staked political capital in the vote, since a number of politicians from her center-right coalition have been skeptical about expanding the bailout fund. She pledged support for Greece earlier this week during a meeting with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou - who sent out a larger plea for help in remarks to German business leaders.

"The fall of the Berlin Wall heralded the end of a divided Europe. Now is not the time to rebuild walls in Europe. Europe must keep moving forward toward permanent integration, build solidly on social justice and sustainable growth," said Papandreou.

Germany's upper house is expected to approve the rescue fund measure on Friday. But a number of eurozone countries have yet to ratify it, including Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, Malta, the Netherlands and Slovakia.

Analysts and politicians say a stronger rescue fund is only one step in tackling the eurozone's financial crisis. Addressing European Parliament lawmakers on Wednesday, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso outlined a series of other steps needed to shore up the eurozone.

"This will require stronger mechanisms for crisis resolution. We need credible firepowers and effective firewalls for the euro. We have to build on the EFSF [the bailout fund] and upcoming European stability mechanisms," said Barroso.

European and International Monetary Fund officials will be examining Greece's compliance with austerity measures needed for it to receive more emergency funds. If Athens does not get the money soon, it risks defaulting on its debt. The belt-tightening has sparked a series of protests and strikes in Greece. Unions have called for a massive general strike next week.

You May Like

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

This forum has been closed.
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.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

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 After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

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 Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

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 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 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 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.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies


Rates may not be current.