EASING UP: The European Union gave member states France, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia more time to bring their deficit levels under control so that they can support their ailing economies.
THE HITCH: The EU Commission, the 27-nation bloc's executive arm, said the countries must instead overhaul their labor markets and implement fundamental reforms to make their economies more competitive.
THE BACKDROP: Europe is stuck in a recession — which has led to an increasingly bitter debate over the merits of austerity as a way to solve the region's problems economic problems.
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