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European Union

The Takeaway

EU Leaders May Face Tough Sell for Treaty at Home

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A deal reached last week by European Union leaders to sign an intergovernmental treaty to save the euro may be in jeopardy. Some European leaders fear they may have signed a deal that they cannot sell to their governments at home. The news comes as the value of the euro on Wednesday morning fell to its lowest level since the beginning of the year. The BBC's Mark Gregory reports on the latest from London.

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The Takeaway

Pact Redefines Sovereignty for European Union

Friday, December 09, 2011

A new treaty agreed to in the early hours of Friday by 23 European Union countries, including all 17 euro zone states, may be the most direct discussion of what constitutes sovereignty since the creation of the United Nations. The intergovernmental pact is a major step toward closer integration for the 17 countries that use the euro as currency, as well as the six that hope to join in the future. British Prime Minister David Cameron vetoed a plan by France and Germany to make changes to the EU treaties that would affect all 27 EU nations, saying the deal was not in the U.K.'s interests.

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The Takeaway

UK Vetoes EU Treaty

Friday, December 09, 2011

Twenty-three European Union countries, including all 17 that use the euro, agreed to an intergovernmental treaty that dictates strict tax and budget rules early Friday. The measure fell short of Germany and France's goal to get all 27 EU nations to back changes to the union's treaties after objections from Britain. Prime Minister David Cameron had sought exemptions for the U.K.'s financial sector. The fiscal compact, which penalizes members for breaking deficit rules, was welcomed by Mario Draghi, the new head of the European Central Bank.

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The Takeaway

Should the US Care About Saving the Euro?

Thursday, December 08, 2011

European leaders meet in Brussels on Thursday for the start of a two day summit in what many are hoping will be a turning point for resolving the euro zone crisis. Expectations are high that a deal can be brokered by Germany and France to overhaul economic rules and create confidence in the beleaguered currency. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner met with European officials earlier this week, a sign of American interest in reaching a resolution. But some economists and politicians are beginning to question whether, from the U.S. perspective, the euro is really worth saving.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Highway Bill Vote This Week, E.U. Bans Airport Body Scanners, Detroit's Buses Get an 'F'

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Where -- and when -- did transit over the Tappan Zee Bridge go? (Link)

The New York MTA and the Transit Workers Union opened contract negotiations. (Link)

As police cleared Zuccotti Park, bicyclists helped reinforce Occupy Wall Street protesters. (Link)

The Capitol (photo by Skibum 415 via Flickr)

The House is almost ready to vote on a highway bill. (The Hill)

And: lawmakers say the FAA bill will be ready to go by the end of the month. (Politico)

There are more vehicles on the roads in the DC area -- but more of them are passenger cars, not SUVs. (Washington Post)

One road in London is doing away with curbs and sidewalks in an effort to be more pedestrian-friendly. (Good)

Montreal unveiled a $16.8 billion plan to increase transit ridership, but funding it is going to be a problem. (Montreal Gazette)

Back in the day, new MTA head Joe Lhota wanted City Hall to control the city's transit system. (New York Times)

The Illinois state legislature signed off on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s call for speed cameras near schools and parks. (WBEZ)

A transit advocacy group says half of Detroit's buses are either late or don't arrive at all. (Detroit Free Press)

WNYC looks at the economic benefits of hydrofracking.

The Canadian government ruled out federal funding for a high-speed rail line between Windsor and Quebec. (The National Post)

The European Union banned U.S.-style body scanner machines in European airports. (ProPublica)

A bike room grows in lower Manhattan.  (New York Times)

How many riders must high-speed rail attract to offset the construction emissions? (Atlantic Cities)

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The Takeaway

US Worries Over Europe's Ability to Handle Crisis

Friday, November 11, 2011

Europe's deepening financial crisis has the White House apprehensive over the potential economic and political ramifications in the United States. "The crisis in Europe remains the central challenge to global growth," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Thursday. Under pressure from the Frankfurt Group — eight European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicholas Sarkozy, and IMF head Christine Legarde — Greece and Italy are looking to unelected technocrats to guide their nations away from fiscal catastrophe.

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The Takeaway

Investors Fear Contagion From Euro Crisis

Thursday, November 10, 2011

As the European sovereign debt crisis has spread from Greece to Italy, investors worst fears are coming true. "Contagion" is the word of the day, as Italy's precarious situation threatens to destabilize the entire euro zone, possibly posing a systemic risk to the global economy. A central member of the euro zone, and Europe's third largest economy, Italy is too large to be bailed out by Europe as was the case with Greece. Italian bond rates have skyrocketed to above 7 percent, as investor fret over whether Italy's government will be capable of dealing with the crisis, even with the departure of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

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The Takeaway

A Historical Look at European Union

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A different look at the euro zone crisis with a look at the very idea of the European Union. It grew out of the wreckage of World War II, with politicians determined to end the rivalries which had driven Europe to war twice in 25 years. Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, presiding at the Hague Congress in 1948, launched the call for a political, economic and monetary union of Europe. This landmark conference would eventually see six European countries coming together to sign the Treaty of Rome in 1957 which created the European Economic Community — now of course, the much larger 27-member European Union.

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The Takeaway

Italy on the Brink as Berlusconi Faces Crucial Vote

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The twin political and fiscal disasters of Greece's sovereign debt crisis have spread to Italy, Europe's third largest economy. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's governing coalition has crumbled ahead of a crucial budget vote scheduled for Tuesday, and a key ally has demanded his resignation. Interest rates on Italy's debt rose to 6.47 percent, the highest since the country joined the euro. As Greece negotiates a transitional government, the fate of the euro remains in question.

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The Takeaway

European Union Leaders Grapple With Debt Crisis

Monday, October 24, 2011

European officials were meeting all weekend long to discuss bailout plans — not only for debt-ridden nations in the euro zone but also for specific banks affected by the debt crisis. The European taxpayers paying for these bailouts are concerned about how this money will be used. Perhaps American tax payers should be too.

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The Takeaway

New Austerity Measures Spark Protests in Greece

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Massive labor strikes have turned violent in Greece as thousands of protesters have clashed with police in the streets of Athens. The demonstrators are protesting against proposed austerity measures that would lay off more than 30,000 public sector workers while cutting pensions and salaries for those left with jobs. The Greek Parliament will vote on the final austerity package today.

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The Takeaway

Slovakia Blocks Euro Zone Bailout Fund

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In Europe, political parties in Slovakia are figuring out their next step a day after the Parliament there dramatically rejected plans to expand the European Union bailout fund. Slovakia is the last euro zone state to vote on ratifying the expansion of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). The E.U.'s plan is to expand the fund's effective lending capacity to €440 billion, roughly $600 billion, as well as empowering it to buy eurozone government debt and offer credit lines to member states and to banks. Top E.U. officials have today been urging the country to ratify the bill swiftly — and a new vote on the fund is likely by the end of this week.

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The Takeaway

The United States of Europe?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

As the financial crisis in the euro zone has continued to spiral in recent months, Europe may be moving closer centralizing coordination of debt and spending policies. Some global financial officials are endorsing a central European financial authority, with powers to tax, issue bonds, and approve budgets, as a way to combat inefficiencies in dealing with economic strife. Such a change could make Europe's 17-nation economic union into a sort of United States of Europe.

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda: Irene Aftermath, Unemployment, Greece's Bailout

Monday, August 29, 2011

It's Monday morning, which means it's time to take a look at what's on the agenda for the week ahead. President Obama will be preparing his Labor Day speech on the economy this week, and after after Hurricane Irene's chaotic visit to the East Coast, leaving billions of dollars in damage behind, he may have to rethink what he's going to say. Irene hit at a time when the U.S. economy is continuing to slump and millions are jobless. Unemployment figures will be out on Friday, and the Congressional Budget Office is predicting that employment will not return to normal levels until 2017. Meanwhile Greece, may not receive a bailout from the European Union, as Finland hesitates to approve it. All EU members must approve the bailout, for it to go into effect.

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The Takeaway

Greece Passes Austerity Meaures Vote

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This morning, the Greek Parliament voted in favor of a package of austerity measures that includes tax hikes and spending cuts. The vote comes despite two days of protests in Athens, where polls say 80 percent of Greeks were against the measures. The package is an effort to avoid defaulting via a second bailout from the European Union. The vote is being met with violence on the streets of Athens.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Big Picture: Midterms and the World

Thursday, October 28, 2010

James Fallows, National Correspondent for The Atlantic, and Ryan Avent, online economics editor for The Economist, look at how then U.S. midterms are playing around the world and at how the election could affect a number of global policy concerns: from the debate over China’s valuation of its currency, to EU austerity measures, to the prospects for an arms reduction treaty with Russia.

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The Takeaway

Fears of Second Toxic Sludge Spill in Hungary

Monday, October 11, 2010

A week after 35 million cubic feet of toxic sludge leaked out of an alumina plant reservoir in Ajka, Hungary killing seven people and creating one of the worst environmental disaster in European history, there are new fears this morning of another catastrophe. Four thousand workers and 300 machines are rushing to complete an emergency dam to prevent a second incident after new cracks were discovered in the reservoir's retaining wall.

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WQXR News

Protests Erupt in Europe

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Anti-austerity demonstrations are taking place throughout Europe, in protest of new government measures designed to prevent another financial crisis.

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The Takeaway

Europeans Protest in Mass Over Austerity Measures

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

From Madrid to Brussels to Dublin to Paris, workers all over the European Union are taking to the streets today in a mass day of action. Hundreds of thousands of European workers are protesting a wide range of austerity measures proposed by their own governments—like spending cuts in Britain and increasing the retirement age in France. The BBC's Nick Childs is in the thick of the protests in Brussels. He reports on what may be the beginning of Europe's winter of discontent.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The EU's Bank Stress Tests

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Last week the European Union released the results of the stress tests it ran on almost 100 banks. Matthew Saltmarsh, staff reporter for the International Herald Tribune, discusses the results and whether they’ll help restore investor confidence to the troubled Euro-zone.

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