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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


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