News / Europe

Greek Economic Crisis Sparks Riots, Slide in Euro

The economic crisis in Greece has sparked riots that killed three people. Massive protests broke out against severe government spending cuts aimed at saving the country from economic collapse.

Tens of thousands of people marched through central Athens protesting government plans to impose new spending cuts to save the country from bankruptcy.

The protesters chanted in the streets as riot police with stun grenades and tear gas fought street battles with rock-throwing demonstrators, including a group trying to storm the parliament building.

Violence also broke out in the northern city of Salonika, where demonstrators smashed windows in the city's center.

Prime Minister George Papandreou presented parliament an austerity bill with $40 billion in budgets cuts that include pension rollbacks, tax hikes and wage freezes.

Opponents argue the cuts will mostly affect the poor.

The Greek government agreed to the budget cuts in exchange for a $145-billion economic-rescue package from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

The crisis has prompted a loss of investor confidence in European economies, pushing the euro to its lowest level in 13 months.

EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee member Udo Bullmann says the panel hopes a solution can be found within the European Union.

"We have to safeguard the functioning of the eurozone, that is one of our most important tasks," said Bullman.

The big fear in Brussels is that skeptical investors will pull their money out of the eurozone. Economist Stelios Platis told VOA News other EU countries are not immune to the effects of the Greek bankruptcy.

"The important thing to consider is that in order to maintain a unified economy within the eurozone you have to have stability," said Paltis. "If one player, irrespective of its size, falls under, then it remains a possibility for any other member of that economic unit to also face the same difficulties."

Investors are openly shunning other vulnerable countries - including Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, pushing yields on these countries' bonds to record highs.

"The problem is that the European Union or the eurozone in this case, is not equipped with the tools it needs to run the currency," said Sophia in't Veld, a member of the European Parliament. "We have a common currency, but we have no instruments to decide, act or to intervene when it is necessary - then we are empty handed."

Meanwhile in Greece, lawmakers may vote as early as Thursday on the controversial proposal to impose new austerity measures.

You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid