Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Friday, March 11, 2011

Weak euro countries plead for help: Market jitters and clashing interests likely to hamper grand deal on eurozone rescue

The eurozone's weakest states on Friday pleaded for more help from their richer neighbors at a summit in Brussels, where leaders worked to thrash out a "comprehensive response" to the crippling debt crisis by the end of the month.

Markets remain unconvinced that countries like Greece, the crisis' first victim, will become financially self-sufficiant anytime soon, despite a long series of brutal austerity measures.

"We are on track with our program, we have taken the pain to make our economy more viable," said George Papandreou, the prime minister of Greece, as he arrived in Brussels. "But now we need European decisions, strong European decisions to calm the market."

In his call for more assistance and understanding Papandreou was joined by newly elected Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny. "I've come here with two days in government with a very strong mandate from the Irish people for an improvement in the terms of the EU-IMF deal," Kenny told journalists, referring to the country's euro67.5 billion ($93 billion) bailout funded by the International Monetary Fund and other EU countries.

Meanwhile, Portugal -- seen by many as the next most likely candidate for an international rescue -- announced additional tax increases and moneysaving measures to convince other eurozone states that it is doing its part to survive the crisis.

The pleas by now have a familiar ring. More than a year into the debt crisis, Europe still faces much the same problems as a year ago -- except that after endless promises, negotiations, and two bailouts, jittery markets now appear at the end of their tether. (read more)