- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Greece warns of ‘vicious cycle of inequality’ in EU
Southern nations in eurozone still hurting
Question of the Day
A top Greek official on Wednesday warned of a “widening gap” in the eurozone that separates financially stable countries such as Germany from their southern European partners that are struggling to keep up.
Evangelos Venizelos, Greece’s president of the co-governing Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement, condemned the “vicious cycle of inequality” against southern members such as Italy, Spain and his own country that he said has come to dominate European policymaking. Ahead of a speech that Mr. Venizelos will deliver Thursday at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, he said these countries are not treated with the same respect as the rest of their more-wealthy European partners.
“We’re trying to escape the perception of being a ‘prodigal country,’” Mr. Venizelos said Wednesday afternoon.
Mr. Venizelos warned that these tensions could weaken the European Union by fueling popular skepticism and encouraging economic nationalism, rather than integration among the members’ economies.
This comes as the eurozone announced Wednesday that the 17-nation bloc’s economies shrank by 0.2 percent for the first quarter of 2013, the sixth consecutive quarter of decline. Germany, which makes up about 30 percent of the eurozone economy, grew by 0.1 percent in the quarter, but it wasn’t enough to offset the rest of the region, including the suddenly listing French economy.
Greece was one of the worst-hit countries in the eurozone with its economy shrinking 5.3 percent in the quarter.
A recent poll from Pew Research Center shows that 72 percent of Greeks believe the economy is very bad, while only 1 percent say it is good. They blame a lack of jobs, high public debt and rising prices for the country’s economic problems.
“There is without a doubt strong economic nationalism,” Mr. Venizelos said.
“It is obvious that there is a lot of nervousness in many big countries, because when you have strong political, economic and social nervousness in France, the second country in the eurozone, in Italy and in Spain, of course you have a nervous eurozone,” Mr. Venizelos said.
“Thus, something much more is needed for the south and for a Europe that is overcoming the crisis.”
Mr. Venizelos would like to see Germany ease off on demands for spending cuts that he said have contributed to Greece’s record-high unemployment rate above 25 percent. Though he acknowledged that austerity was once a difficult-yet-necessary measure for Greece, he said it is currently an “ideological problem” that is holding the country back from growing.
“But it’s very difficult for a country under crisis, under such a big loan, to fight for this idea,” he said. “On a European level, it is very difficult for us to exercise that kind of influence in Germany.”
The Pew survey found that 56 percent of Greeks oppose austerity, even as 59 percent of Europeans overall still believe the best way to solve the bloc’s problems is by reducing the debt.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tim Devaney is a national reporter who covers business and international trade for The Washington Times. Previously, he worked for the Detroit News, Grand Rapids Press, Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News. Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Dysfunction, disarray at Homeland Security management cited in IG's report
- GM's Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- Treasury sells last shares in 'Government Motors'
- U.S. businesses reach out quickly to partners in Iran
- General Motors ending Chevrolet sales in Europe to focus on Opel and Vauxhall
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- House GOP resurrects border bill, predicts successful Friday vote
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors