News / Europe

Greek Debt Crisis Takes Center Stage at World Economy Meetings

William Ide

World economic officials worked to hammer out a rescue plan for Greece as Athens' debt crisis loomed over a meeting of International Monetary Fund finance ministers in Washington Saturday.  At the meetings, global finance leaders stressed that the world's economy was rebounding from the financial crisis and pledged to address the recovery risk of high government debt.

Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou met with several world finance leaders Saturday on the sidelines of the IMF and the World Bank's spring meetings in Washington.

In addition to meeting with the head of the IMF, and several senior European economic officials, he also held talks with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

In a statement after their meeting, Geithner urged Greek, IMF and European officials to move quickly  on a package of concrete reforms and financial support for Greece.

Greece is seeking emergency loans of about $40 billion from European countries and an additional sum of more than $13 billion from the IMF.

It has put in place an austerity program that calls for civil servant pay cuts, freezes pensions and raises taxes.

The Greek government is facing mounting political pressure and protests against the austerity measures have paralyzed the country.

Speaking at a press conference following Saturday's meetings, IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn told Greek citizens that they did not need to fear the IMF, stressing that the fund was there to help. " The IMF is a kind of a cooperative organization, where all the countries of the world work together to try to help those in troubles. Today, Greece is in trouble. Tomorrow, maybe another one. And so, what is the IMF doing: trying to provide advice on behalf of the entire international community; trying to provide resources to help on behalf of the entire community," he said.

On Friday, Greece admitted it could no longer pay down its massive debts.  Athens is seeking the emergency loans before it must make additional payments on its debt next month.

As finance leaders looked to help solve Greece's debt crisis they also pledged to address the risk posed to the global recovery from high government debt.

Strauss-Kahn says that over the coming months the IMF would be looking at the issue of the heavy burden of debt as well as unemployment. He says it will also be examining capital flows to emerging countries and the risks that they pose to creating financial bubbles. "So this first phase, after panic action and relief, is clearly the phase of rebuilding. Rebuilding the international institutions and trying to make them more affective to be able to - not to avoid of course - but prevent the likelihood of any crisis in the future," he said.

Anoop Singh, the director of the IMF's Asia and Pacific department says Asia was now leading the global economic recovery, with most of the region's economies rebounding to pre-crisis levels. "This is the first time that Asia's contribution to a global recovery has outstripped that of other regions. Second, while in past recessions we have seen Asia's recovery - in those cases - generally driven by exports, this time it has been reinforced by resilient domestic demand," he said.

Singh added that one of Asia's biggest economies, China, recognizes the need to let the value of its currency strengthen to help boost private consumption.

In recent weeks, the value of China's currency has been the focus of heated debates. The United States and a growing number of other countries including Brazil and India have urged Beijing to let its currency strengthen to help correct trade imbalances.

Economists argue that such a move would help make exports from advanced and other nations more competitive against Chinese goods.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid