News / Europe

S&P Threatens Downgrade for Europe Bailout Fund

The map of Europe is featured on the face of a two Euro coin seen in this photo illustration taken in Rome, December 3, 2011.
The map of Europe is featured on the face of a two Euro coin seen in this photo illustration taken in Rome, December 3, 2011.

The credit agency Standard & Poor's is now threatening to downgrade the top rating of the bailout fund for Europe's debt-ridden countries.

S&P issued the warning Tuesday, a day after it placed 15 of the 17 nations that use the euro, including economic powerhouses Germany and France, on a negative credit watch.

The credit agency said it would decide within 90 days whether to cut the AAA credit rating for the bailout agency by one or two notches after determining whether the credit standing of any of the individual countries should be trimmed.

A debt analyst for S&P, Moritz Kraemer, said at a Frankfurt news conference that it issued the warnings because European officials have made "a very slow and reluctant response" to the continent's debt crisis. He expressed skepticism that European leaders would act at a summit later this week to resolve the two-year debt contagion.

Kraemer said the effects of the debt crisis have spread through the continent and could worsen.

"Well, it's our opinion that the financial crisis that we are witnessing in the eurozone is no longer a crisis of individual countries on the periphery. We think it has taken a more systemic trajectory. It has been spreading into some core countries and also financial institutions in the core countries," Kraemer said. "It has deepened on the periphery. So we think that the current situation has the potential to destabilize further."

If the credit rating for the $591 billion bailout fund is cut, it would boost the borrowing costs to assist debt-ridden countries. Greece, Ireland and Portugal have already needed international assistance and analysts fear that Italy and Spain, with the continent's third and fourth largest economies, also might need help.

U.S.Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (L) leaves the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt, December 6, 2011
U.S.Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (L) leaves the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt, December 6, 2011

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner traveled to Europe Tuesday to prod the continent's leaders to take decisive action. He said the U.S. is encouraged that European leaders are taking steps to alleviate the crisis, while acknowledging that American policy makers face their own economic challenges.

Geithner is meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi to warn that further delays could imperil the world economy, including the sluggish recovery in the American economy, the world's largest.

Ms. Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy unveiled a plan Monday for tighter controls over the spending of individual governments. They called for changes to the treaty governing the 27-nation European Union, or at least covering budgets in the 17-nation eurozone.

European officials criticized the S&P threat of a downgrade, saying it ignored new efforts to resolve the crisis and the plans for unified action at the Brussels summit Thursday and Friday.

Ms. Merkel vowed that Europe would act and downplayed the significance of the possibility of an S&P ratings cut.

"What a rating agency does is the responsibility of the rating agency. On Thursday and Friday we will make the decisions which we think are important and indispensable for the eurozone and therefore contribute to the stabilization of the eurozone," Merkel said. "I also think we will regain confidence. I have always said this is a long process and it will continue for some time, but we charted the course yesterday with the French president and we will continue to stay the course."

All 27 EU nations would have to approve changes to the 1992 Maastricht Treaty that created the EU, but broad approval would not be necessary if spending controls apply only to the eurozone.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid