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Jamaica, other states' fates hang with Eurozone

Published:Friday | June 29, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

Brussels, Belgium:

The president of the Social Democratic Party at the European Parliament said yesterday that countries like Jamaica could suffer tremendously if European leaders fail to speedily resolve the Eurozone crisis.

Hannes Swoboda said areas such as poverty reduction, tourism and remittances are among those that would be hardest hit.

"I hope that Europe is clever enough to help itself and Jamaica," Swoboda said.

European leaders are meeting during a summit in Brussels today with a view to resolving the Eurozone crisis. The summit is taking place over two days and is being held at a time when five European countries, including Spain, which has significant investments in Jamaica's tourism sector, have asked the Eurozone for a bailout.

"The less we are able to solve the problems in Europe itself, the lower is the understanding and the readiness of our citizens to spend money for others or to support others outside of the European Union (EU)," Swoboda said.

He added: "Therefore, our fight against poverty worldwide, our fight for the equal distribution of income and wealth worldwide is dependent on solutions in our own countries."

The EU, comprising 27 nations and 500 million people, has been the source of much financial support for Jamaica. The organisation has provided more than €300 million in aid and budgetary support to Jamaica in the last five years.

Swoboda noted that low growth means lower budget for the EU to spend in areas such as poverty reduction.

This week, Cyprus and Spain made requests for bailouts of their financial systems. They join Greece, Ireland and Portugal as countries that have been severely rocked by the crisis.

Spain asked for up to €125 billion to prop up its failing banks.

daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com