News / Europe

Germany Calls for European 'Political Union'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, British PM David Cameron, right, and Norway's PM Jens Stoltenberg, left, arrive for a panel discussion in Berlin, Germany, June 7, 2012.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, British PM David Cameron, right, and Norway's PM Jens Stoltenberg, left, arrive for a panel discussion in Berlin, Germany, June 7, 2012.
VOA News
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Europe needs to move beyond its common euro currency to create a "political union" in order to resolve the continent's governmental debt crisis.

The German leader said Thursday that individual governments in the 17-nation eurozone gradually need to cede powers to European control, a contentious proposition on the continent. She told German public television that a currency union is not enough, and that the eurozone countries need to adopt common budget policies, as well as create a fiscal union and "above all a political union."

Merkel has championed austerity measures to combat the eurozone debt crisis, now in its third year and facing new challenges from weak Spanish banks and political uncertainty in debt-ridden Greece. The German leader, overseeing Europe's most robust economy, has come under increasing pressure from U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and others this week to help boost the continent's stagnant economic growth.

She said in the interview that "without solid finances, there is no growth," closely linking spending restraints and economic growth.

The Madrid government, seeking help from its European neighbors to finance a $100-billion bailout of Spanish banks with toxic real estate loans, sold $2.6 billion in new bonds Thursday. But with its weakened financial condition, Spain was forced to pay a higher interest rate than in past debt sales.

Meanwhile, Greece, now in its fifth year of a recession, reported that its unemployment rate hit nearly 22 percent in March, up sharply from the same month a year ago. The jobless rate for young people was especially high, at nearly 53 percent.
 
Some Greeks said the country's jobless situation has become desperate. An unemployed mechanic, Spiros Gazikas, said his job search has reached a dead end.

"I have been registered unemployed for two years now," he said. "I used to come to renew my card but there is no point, the programs aren't working. You can sign up but no one ever calls you. There is no future.''

A 51-year-old teacher reflected a pessimistic view of Greece's labor market based on the experiences of the friends he knows.

"Everybody knows at least one unemployed person within their circle," he said. "Unemployment has risen a great deal. And from what it looks like, it's going to get worse. It will get worse."

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
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 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