News, Politics

What’s Happening In Europe?

Europe; Image: SsolbergjA number of countries in Europe are having problems with their finances and their leaders.

This year, four prime ministers in Europe have quit their jobs or been forced out of office.

That’s because their countries have spent more money than they make and now they can’t pay their debts (a debt is money that is owed).

Some of the countries are making deals with other countries in Europe and the International Monetary Fund for a “bailout.” A bailout is a loan to a country to keep it from going bankrupt. The richer countries agree to put in more money to save the poorer countries.

Last January, Brian Cowen of Ireland was forced to resign as prime minister because his country was going further and further into debt.

The Prime Minister of Portugal, Jose Socrates, resigned in March after their parliament did not accept his ideas for saving money.

Greece’s Prime Minister, George Papandreou, stepped down last week.

In these three countries, new prime ministers have already been chosen and they are each working on bailouts. Spain is the next country to be considered for a possible bailout.

In Italy this week, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said he will step down. He said he will resign after Italy’s parliament passes some laws to cut spending and bring more money into the country. Italy’s debt is far larger than that of most other countries. If Italy’s economy doesn’t get better soon, it could affect many other countries in Europe.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
After these countries got into very difficult financial situations, the prime ministers stepped down.  Do you think they should have? Whose responsibility is it to manage a country’s money?  Do you think a prime minister should be blamed for the financial situation of their country?

Reading Prompt: Demonstrating Understanding
This article contains a lot of information about several different countries in Europe.  Summarize the main ideas in the article and support these ideas using evidence from the text.

Demonstrate understanding of a variety of texts by summarizing important ideas and citing supporting details (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Demonstrate understanding of increasingly complex texts by summarizing important ideas and citing a variety of details that support the main idea (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Grammar Feature: Adjectives
Europe is undergoing a lot of uncertainty and stress right now as the financial situation in many European countries is very challenging. What adjectives can you think of to describe how Europeans may feel about this situation?