News / Europe

Greek Crisis Prompts Fears for Euro Currency

Henry Ridgwell

From Scandinavia to the Mediterranean shores of southern Europe, there are widespread fears over the future of the euro currency and the European Union itself. The EU has been shaken by the Greek debt crisis, but its leaders insist the Union and the currency will hold together.  Some say the biggest danger for Europe, though, could lie beyond Greece.

In Athens’ Syntagma Square, a few hundred protestors still remain. Draped in Greek flags, their anger is mixed with dejection.

Despite the protests this week, Greece’s parliament approved spending cuts of $40 billion demanded by the EU and IMF bailout.

Outside the people remain defiant. Teacher Yannis Anagnostaras is among the protesters.

"People and workers will fight on the streets to have these measures canceled,” he said. “These measures that destroy workers rights and ruin our lives, and are in coordination with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund."

In Athens and across Europe there is speculation that everyone would be better off if Greece left the euro currency and the EU altogether.

Not so, said Philip Whyte of analyst group the Center for European Reform. “Greece could not leave the eurozone without, first of all, a run on its banking system. Second, it would not restore Greece to debt sustainability. Third, it would cut off Greece from potentially vital lines of support.”

EU politicians opposed to the Greek bailout - and to European integration in general - have been making their view clear, holding a mock funeral for the euro currency symbol outside the European Council in Brussels. Leading the cortege was British MEP Nigel Farage.

"The euro is not going to survive in its current configuration," said Farage. "I’m sure we will see countries peeling off. It may become in a few years time the Greater Deutschmark zone. That is quite possible.”

President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy said the doomsayers are wrong.

“In my view the state of the Union is not so bad even if the mood is not so good," he said. "But the mood is this afternoon much better than this morning after the positive vote in the Greek parliament. Ladies and gentlemen, political courage still exists.”

That courage will be tested to the limit if the debt crisis spreads beyond Greece. Spain is the eurozone’s fourth biggest economy but it is weighed down with high debts and 20% unemployment. The construction sector was decimated by the financial crisis.

“Greece could not leave the eurozone without provoking contagion and question marks over the continued membership of other countries that are potentially in difficulty,” said Whyte of the Center for European Reform.

There may be talk of countries leaving the EU - but this week the Union prepared to welcome its newest member as Croatia completed accession talks.

Analysts say despite the euro crisis, the opportunities presented by EU membership still outweigh the risks for many countries on Europe’s fringes.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid