The eurozone crisis has focused attention on debt-burdened Greece spiraling into decline. Meanwhile, Portugal is seen as the international creditors' poster-child for obediently slashing spending and welfare benefits.
Nevertheless, the Portuguese national debt continues to grow, and the country is mired in recession and soaring unemployment.
The Portuguese national character has long been identified with Fado music. Raquel Freire, an activist with the local Occupy movement, says the melancholy style helps explain decades of resignation.
European finance ministers are expected to vote on the latest $171 billion bailout package for Greece Monday. The package needs to be approved so Greece can make payments on bonds that come due a month from now. Even if the bailout is approved, it is likely to be only a temporary solution to Greece's troubles.
Across the Atlantic in New York, Hans Humes likes to ride his bike from his home in Brooklyn to his office at Greylock Capital Management in Manhattan. On a recent morning he showed up for our interview still carrying his bike helmet.
Jiang Shixue is describing to me one of the most exciting moments of his life: The moment earlier this month when one of the most important people in Europe — German Chancellor Angela Merkel — came to visit his workplace.
"She said that the EU would be happy to see if China can offer a kind of helping hand," says Jiang, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
In Athens on Tuesday, Greek pensioners marched in protest against new austerity cuts. The eurozone insists Greece must stick to hugely unpopular austerity measures agreed to in return for a 130 billion euro debt bailout.
Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees De Jager addresses the media prior to the start of the Eurogroup ministerial meeting at the European Council building in Brussels on Feb. 9.
Credit Yves Logghe / AP
NPR's Eric Westervelt scored an interview with Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager. And Eric reports that he did not mince words.
The Netherlands and Germany, which have AAA credit ratings, hold great sway in whether Greece will receive a $170 million bailout from the European Union and the IMF. Without it, Greece would default on its debt and would almost certainly exit the monetary union. Eric asked Jager if Greece needed to do more beyond the tough set of austerity measures Parliament passed on Sunday and this is what Jager told him: