Thursday, July 21, 2011

EU urges 'decisive' action on debt crisis

President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso

Source: Press TV

The president of the European Commission has urged EU leaders to come up with a realistic plan to fight the eurozone countries' debt crisis.

The European Union leaders are due to meet on Thursday to try to solve the debt crisis surrounding the continent.

“Nobody should be under any illusion that the situation is very serious and without a decisive response, the negative consequences would be felt in all corners of Europe and beyond,” the Associated Press quoted Jose Manuel Barroso as saying on Wednesday.

The eurozone plunged into a financial crisis in early 2010, as the specter of insolvency threatened heavily debt-ridden countries such as Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain.

The EU and the International Monetary Fund granted a EUR 110 billion (USD 158-billion) bailout to Greece in 2010 in return for tough austerity measures.

The measures, which included the cutting of public sector salary and pensions, increasing taxes and overhauling the pension system, sparked nationwide protests in Greece.

The protests turned violent at times, leaving scores of protesters and security forces dead or injured.

Barroso said at the very least, the leaders need to present how they will ensure the sustainability of Greek public finances, the feasibility of public sector involvement in any aid package and more flexibility in existing European bailout funds.

Earlier, French Finance Minister Francois Baroin said Europe needed to send a "strong message" during the Thursday summit that it will act decisively to contain the Greek debt crisis.

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