News / Europe

Low Expectations as EU Finance Ministers Meet

President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi attends the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs at the European Parliament in Brussels, July 9, 2012.
President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi attends the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs at the European Parliament in Brussels, July 9, 2012.
Lisa Bryant
PARIS — European Union finance ministers are in Brussels for a two-day meeting to flesh out June agreements on the eurozone debt crisis. They are downplaying expectations, even as they face tremendous market pressure to deliver.

Banking supervision, aid to Spain and Cyprus and how to handle the Greek debt - European Union finance ministers are tackling these and other key issues during talks in Brussels.

Lagarde's warning

On Friday, IMF Chief Christine Lagarde increased pressure, praising recent steps taken by EU leaders, but warning the global economy may slow further if they do not do more.

"It's also a question of implementation… diligent, rigorous, implementation. And from the IMF perspective, we believe more needs to be done in order to really complete the architectural job of the eurozone: a monetary union, a banking union, followed by a fiscal union," she said. 

Fleshing out June agreements

The finance ministers will try to fill in the blanks for a series of agreements reached by the 27 EU leaders during a summit last month. Markets initially cheered those decisions, which included new ways to use the EU's bailout fund and plans for a future banking union.

But market confidence quickly vanished. 

"The reason is that clearly there is still no agreement among the heads of state, among the finance ministers, among the different countries about the course to pursue," explains economist Andre Sapir of the Brussels think tank Bruegel. "The declarations that are made at the end of the summit are then interpreted by different countries and different leaders in different manners. And that is what markets don't like."

The euro has sunk to a new low against the dollar. And borrowing costs for shaky Spain and Italy have again spiked.

Greater role for European central bank

Analysts like Sapir do hail one EU decision reached late last week: to give the European Central Bank a greater oversight role. That, he says, is the first step in EU plans to create a banking union.

"The notion that we need to create in Europe or in the euro area is something comparable to what exists in the United States, with an institution like the FDIC [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation] - an institution that is able to supervise, to provide deposit insurance, and to provide resolutions for banks in crisis at the euro-area level," he said.

This week's finance meeting was supposed to be the last until September. But EU officials say that given the complexity of their workload, the ministers will likely be meeting again later this month.

You May Like

Video Egyptian Journalists Call for Press Freedom

Despite release of al-Jazeera journalists and others, Egyptian Journalist Syndicate says some remain imprisoned More

Turkey Survey Indicates Traditional Distrusts, Shift to the West

Comprehensive public opinion survey also found a large majority of those interviewed distrust all countries other than country’s neighbor, Azerbaijan More

Pakistan Court Upholds Death Sentence in Blasphemy Killing

Highest court upholds sentence of Mumtaz Qadri convicted of 2011 killing a provincial governor for criticizing country’s controversial blasphemy law More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs