French, German, British and Italian leaders are meeting in Paris Saturday
to look for a common European response to the world financial crisis. Lisa
Bryant has more for VOA from Paris.
President Nicolas Sarkozy called for the summit as European financial institutes
began to feel the bite of a financial crisis that has spread from the United
States to most parts of the world. The summit aims to prepare European members
of the G8 Group of Industrialized Nations for a larger meeting on the crisis
although no date has been set for such a meeting.
Philip Whyte, an
analyst at the Center for European Reform, supports the idea of European leaders
working together to find joint solutions to the turmoil.
a good idea for the leading EU countries to be concerting with each other," he
said. "Two things have actively happened this past week: European countries have
shown they can actively cooperate to rescue banks that have cross-border
That was the case of last week's rescue by four countries of
the Benelux banks Dexia and Fortis. Whyte said experts had been skeptical
countries would actually cooperate in such a way. On the other hand, Ireland
acted unilaterally to back its banks this past week.
It is unclear just
what Saturday's summit will produce. Countries are divided over a Dutch proposal
to create a European crisis fund to rescue troubled banks - somewhat similar to
the U.S. rescue plan newly approved by Congress.
Thomas Klau, head of
the Paris office of the European Council on Foreign Relations, doubts the
leaders in Paris will back that plan. "I don't think we'll get agreement on that
because the Germans for one are very much against it," he said. "But I do expect
some commitment to reinforce coordination."
Some believe Europe will be
able to weather the financial storm better than the United States but many say
it is just too early to say.