News / Europe

Greek PM Warns Tomorrow Will Be 'Too Late' to Act on Debt

European leaders are increasing pressure on Greece to slash its debt before the country's financial crisis sparks even bigger problems.  Now, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is urging lawmakers to act quickly and forcefully. The situation has the attention of some top U.S. officials.

Talk of more cutbacks in Greece has not gone smoothly, with thousands of Greeks protesting the proposed austerity measures this week on the streets of Athens.

On Friday, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou told lawmakers the time for drastic action is now because "tomorrow it will be too late." "If we don't make deep cuts today, tomorrow the crisis will once more choke this country, and once again the people will be forced to pay for previous mistakes," he said.

He said without deep cuts the crisis will choke the Greek economy.

He also called for more support from Europe. "We are asking for solidarity from the European Union, just as they are asking that we meet our obligations to put this country in order. We will respond, whatever the cost and no matter how painful it will be for us, but in the most fair way. And we will ask for solidarity, and I believe we will get it," he saID.

Mr. Papandreou asked for the European Union to be fair and show solidarity.

But the situation is tense. EU experts visiting Greece this week said the country must do more to rein in its crushing debt.  And many officials blame Greece's problems for pushing down the value of the euro.

Some officials have even suggested the euro monetary system could collapse if Greece defaults on its debts.

There has also been no official word on any sort of European aid package.

Following a meeting with the Greek prime minister Friday, the chief executive of Germany's private Deutsche Bank was evasive. "No, I am regularly in Greece because I love Greece, beautiful weather, and then I normally see clients and government officials," he said.

When reporters asked about possible help…"No comment. No comment," he said.

The Greek crisis also has the attention of top officials in the United States.

Central bank chief Ben Bernanke, has told lawmakers some private banks may have helped Greece hide the severity of its problems. "We are looking into a number of questions related to Goldman Sachs and other companies in their derivatives arrangements with Greece," he said.

He said several agencies are investigating. "Obviously, using these instruments in a way that potentially destabilizes a company or a country is counterproductive," he said.

Bernanke also expressed concern about the possible impact of investment instruments that bet Greece would default on its debt.


Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid