News / Europe

Key Dates, Events in European Debt Crisis

Europeon Debt to GDP Ratio

The unfolding eurozone economic crisis has led to political and social turmoil across the region as the governments of Greece, France, Ireland, Spain and Portugal try to keep their spending under control and impose drastic measures to cut their growing debts.  This is a timeline of the most important events leading to the current economic situation in southern Europe.

February 2, 2010: Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou proposes measures to freeze civil service salaries and raise fuel taxes and retirement ages.  Some investors believe Athens may need a bailout from other EU nations or the International Monetary Fund to avoid a default.  Investors begin to worry about other nations with significant debts, like Spain and Portugal, weakening the euro.  To this point, EU officials dismiss the need for a Greek bailout, saying Athens is capable of solving the crisis by itself.

February 9, 2010: Standard and Poor's, one of the world's three major credit rating agencies, lowers its rating for Greek bonds from A-minus to Triple-B-plus.  

February 15, 2010: European finance ministers warn Greece it may need to take drastic action and that pledges to cut government spending and raise money do not go far enough.  EU ministers give Greece until mid-March to show it can make substantial progress.  The United States says it is confident the EU can handle the Greek financial crisis.

March 3, 2010: The Greek Cabinet approves broad new spending cuts designed to save an extra $6.5 billion.  Prime Minister George Papandreou says the country risks "catastrophe" if the government fails to impose decisive spending cuts.

March 7, 2010: French President Nicolas Sarkozy promises that eurozone nations will not let Greece fail.  

March 8, 2010: Portugal announces a series of austerity measures intended to cut its nation's budget deficit by 2013.  

March 11, 2010: An estimated 30,000 people march through Athens in a wave of protests against civil service pay cuts and a freeze on pensions.  Some of the clashes turn violent.

March 24, 2010: EU ministers fail to agree on how to help the struggling Greek economy as the value of the euro plunges to a 10-month low against the dollar.  The Fitch Ratings agency lowers its credit rating for Portugal because of worries that country will be unable to pay back its loans.

April 26-27, 2010: Ratings agency Standard and Poor's cuts Greek long-term government bonds three levels to speculative or "junk" status.  It also downgrades Portugal's sovereign debt by two notches.  S&P says it has growing concerns about the ability of the Greek and Portuguese governments to repay debts.  The downgrades prompt Greek and Portuguese stocks to fall sharply.

April 27, 2010: Portuguese public transportation workers strike against government austerity measures, causing major traffic jams on roads into Portugal's capital, Lisbon.

May 2, 2010: European Union finance ministers unveil a $146 billion EU-International Monetary Fund rescue package for Greece.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it is the only way to ensure the stability of the euro.  The announcement comes the day after thousands of protesters rallied in Athens against the government's plan to make deep budget cuts.  

May 7, 2010: The International Monetary Fund gives final approval to a $40 billion bailout for Greece, part of a larger $145 billion rescue package.  Then-IMF managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn says the Greek government should be commended for "well-balanced" efforts to bring the country out of its financial crisis.

May 27, 2010: Spain's parliament approves roughly $18 billion package in spending cuts, including wage cuts for civil servants, by a one-vote margin.

May 29, 2010: The Fitch Ratings agency cuts Spain's credit rating one notch (from AAA to AA+), warning a strict austerity plan intended to cut debt could also slow economic growth.

June 14, 2010: Moody's Investors Service downgrades Greece's bond ratings to "junk" status because of concerns the country could fail to cut its deficit and pay down its debt.

November 27, 2010: Thousands in Dublin protest the Irish government's plan to cut social welfare programs and raise taxes. The cuts are needed to secure a $113 billion international bailout for the debt-plagued nation.  EU governments approve the bailout package the following day.  

March 23, 2011: Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates resigns after parliament rejects plans for more spending cuts.

March 24, 2011: Thousands of demonstrators confront police in Brussels during an EU summit aimed at dealing with the debt crisis.  Belgian police fire tear gas and water cannon at nearly 20,000 protesters.

May 3, 2011: Portugal becomes the third European Union nation to take a bailout, accepting a $116 billion package from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

May, 12, 2011: The IMF warns that debt problems in Greece, Ireland and Portugal could spread to other eurozone nations and emerging economies in eastern Europe.  

May 19, 2011: Thousands of protestors frustrated with Spain's 21-percent unemployment rate gather in major Spanish cities to demand that Madrid provide them with jobs.  Unemployment for people aged 18 to 25 is even higher, at 45 percent.

June 29, 2011: The Greek parliament approves sweeping new austerity measures - voting for $40 billion in tax increases and spending cuts, and the sale of state-owned assets.  Lawmakers vote for the plan as thousands of rock-throwing protesters clash with police in central Athens.

July 22, 2011: The EU and IMF agree to give Greece another bailout worth about $155 billion.  Greece will also get voluntary loans from the private sector to help cover its financial gap.

August 12, 2011: Italy unveils sharp budget cuts - about $28 billion in 2012 and $35 billion in 2013.  The European Central Bank had demanded the cuts in exchange for supporting Italy's bonds.  Interest rates on those bonds soared a week earlier, increasing investor fears that Italy could be forced to seek a bailout.

August 25, 2011: France unveils a series of cuts and tax increases aimed at reducing the budget deficit by about $17 billion in two years. Prime Minister Francois Fillon said the moves are necessitated by slower economic growth.

September 19, 2011: Standard & Poor's cuts Italy's credit rating one notch from A+ to A and keeps its outlook negative.

October 7, 2011: Fitch Ratings lowers the credit ratings of Italy and Spain, warning they could be lowered again.

October 19, 2011: An estimated 70,000 people march on the Greek parliament, some clashing with police, while a general strike paralyzes Athens.  Public and private sector unions criticize the government's plans to slash the salaries of public workers and raise taxes.

November 1, 2011: World stock markets plummet after Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou says he will call for a referendum on further austerity measures needed to secure additional bailout funds.  After European leaders and financial analysts warn that a vote against the debt-relief would amount to Greece's departure from the eurozone, he scraps the idea, but his political position is damaged.

November 2, 2011: French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel say Greece will receive no more European bailout aid until it fulfills its commitments to the eurozone.

November 6, 2011: Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou agrees to step down in favor of a short-term coalition government whose primary task will be reaching agreement on a new EU bailout deal.

November 8, 2011: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi says he will resign as soon as parliament passes crucial economic reforms.  Mr. Berlusconi makes the announcement after he loses his parliamentary majority during a vote on a routine budget measure.  Italy is the third-largest economy in the eurozone and the seventh largest in the world.  But like its neighbors, it faces a potential economic crisis caused by a ballooning public debt.

You May Like

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill 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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs