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

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid