News / Europe

    Greek Crisis Prompts Fears for Euro Currency

    Multimedia

    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

    Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora