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European Leaders Seek Common Response to World Financial Crisis བོད་སྐད།

  • Lisa Bryant

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.

French 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.

"It's certainly 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 presences."

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.

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