Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Much of the political turmoil surrounding the euro zone crisis has centered around the question of whether fiscally stronger nations, such as Germany and France, should have to bail out Greece and other struggling economies. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has held the purse strings along with other leaders who have demanded strict austerity measures in those countries receiving assistance. Merkel is under political pressure at home with many in her government feeling that the Greeks, like the German people, should have lived within their means.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
The roller coaster that is Greek politics continued Wednesday. Talks between the three main political parties forming the new unity government remained deadlocked. The most dramatic moment came when Giorgios Karatzaferis, leader of the smallest party walked out of negotiations. He told reporters it was sad that games were taking place between outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou and opposition leader Antonis Samaras. The two men are known to be bitter rivals — but it wasn’t always this way.
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.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Interest rates on Italy's debt have soared to dangerously high levels, as bond yields hit 7.4 percent — the level that has driven other euro zone countries to seek bailouts. In comparison, Germany's interest rates stand at just 0.24 percent. Wednesday's news comes just a day after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi pledged to step down on the condition that Parliament pass an austerity budget required by the European Union. Uncertainty over whether Europe's third largest economy will be able to meet its fiscal challenges will continue to test world markets.
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.
Monday, November 07, 2011
Embattled Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will resign once plans for a new coalition government are finalized. Papandreou and his political rival, conservative leader Antonis Samaras, reached a deal on Sunday to form a unity government to implement the unpopular austerity measures required by a bailout deal reached with European leaders. The new government is expected to be led by a non-politician who will be named on Monday.
Friday, November 04, 2011
In Cannes, leaders from the world's 20 largest economic nations are meeting to discuss the most pressing fiscal matters across the globe. On top of that list is Greece and the high-stakes political gamesmanship of the country's Prime Minister George Papandreou. Papandreou called off a plan to hold a referendum on his country's loan deal with the European Union Thursday after he gained new support for the deal from the opposition. Greece is in a tense political stalemate as its fate with the euro zone hangs in the balance. Papandreou is trying avoid a economic catastrophe as he faces calls for his resignation and a no-confidence vote on Friday. Papandreou's political brinkmanship has renewed questions about the instability of the euro zone and the destabilizing roles of deeply indebted countries.
Thursday, November 03, 2011
Greece's ongoing debt crisis and governmental instability has become the focal point of this week's G-20 summit in Cannes, France. A day before a scheduled no-confidence vote in Greek Parliament that could lead to the government's collapse, two ministers have publicly split with Prime Minister George Papandreo over his plan to hold a referendum on a European bailout plan. Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and three other ministers are now opposing the referendum, saying Greece's membership in the euro cannot be jeopardized.
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou's surprise announcement that Greece will vote on its planned bailout has sent world markets into a tailspin. Analysts worry the planned referendum will undermine the agreement reached at meeting of European leaders in Brussels last week and bring Greece dangerously close to defaulting on its debt. In the U.S., brokerage firm MF Global filed for bankruptcy on Monday, in part due to bad bets made on European debt. Traders, however, say worries about the euro zone are primarily responsible for the volatility.
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
World markets plunged Tuesday after Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou announced a surprise plan to hold a national referendum on the proposed European bailout package, bringing the Greek government to the brink of collapse. Several members of Parliament's governing Socialist Party have called on Papandreou to resign, and some members of his own party have called for new elections immediately. A no-confidence vote is scheduled for Friday. Early Wednesday, the Greek cabinet backed Papandreou's referendum plan. Some analysts worry the referendum will bring Greece dangerously close to defaulting on its debt.
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou announced late Monday that he is calling for a nationwide vote on a European bailout plan. Markets are tumbling this morning on news that the Greek people will have the final say on an economic package agreed to last week by European leaders after months of negotiations. Rachel Donadio, Rome bureau chief for The New York Times, reports on the latest.
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.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
The fifth annual New York City Greek Film Festival gets underway in full force this weekend, featuring nine films over 16 days at theaters in Manhattan and Queens. Gritty, personal films reflecting the societal changes in Greece are highlighted in this year's festival.
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.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The Greek Parliament passed an extraordinarily unpopular new property tax on Tuesday, prompting Greeks to once again take to the streets in protest of yet another austerity measure. The tax, which would raise €2 billion this year alone, was seen as a necessary to secure international financing to help Greece avoid defaulting on its debts. Elena Panaritis, a Greek MP from the ruling PASOK party, discusses why she voted for the tax.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
From London and Athens to Israel and India, and now, Wall Street, protesters all over the world are taking to the streets, and their complaints are not that different. Income inequality, unemployment, austerity measures imposed by governments thought to be inept and removed from the will of the people have fueled protests around the globe. Like the protests of the Arab Spring, which have toppled authoritarian governments in the Middle East and Northern Africa this year, these protesters utilize social media to organize, and shun traditional political institutions.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Greek Prime Minister George Panpandreou is in Germany to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss a new strategy to keep his country from defaulting on its debt. Greece needs a further €8 billion to pay its bills. Without it, hundreds of thousands of civil servants will not get paid. Early Tuesday, Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said his country will receive bailout funds.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
The Greek Finance Ministry said talks resumed last night between the country and international leaders, on a way to loan cash to Greece by mid-October and save it from defaulting. U.S. and European markets have fallen as Greece's fate hangs in the balance, and many are wondering how a Greek default would impact the rest of the world. Yesterday, the IMF cut its projections for economic growth in America and Europe, largely because of uncertainty over the European debt crisis.
Monday, September 19, 2011
While hundreds of leaders from around the world are in New York this week at the United Nations, Greece's prime minister, George Panpandreou will be conspicuously absent. Panpandreou cancelled his planned trip to the U.S. this week to stay at home and deal with his country's rapidly deteriorating debt crisis. This morning, European stock markets fell sharply as tensions mount over Greece's inability to solve its problems. Yanis Varoufakis, professor of economic theory at the University of Athens, has the latest on the story.