Friday, October 3, 2008

France calls financial crisis summit

France calls financial crisis summit

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France will host a European summit on Saturday to discuss the international financial crisis.

UK prime minister Gordon Brown and the leaders of Germany and Italy are among those attending, President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office said.

Others are a top European financial official; European Central Bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet; and the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso.

The aim is to prepare the EU members of the Group of Eight for broader talks on the financial crisis with the club of leading industrialised nations, the statement said.

No meeting of the full G-8 has been announced.

Mr Sarkozy has pushed for a global summit on the crisis, saying capitalism must be restructured to better adapt to a new era.

The official announcement of the summit came as France poured cold water on reports it backed the creation of a special £210bn (€267bn) fund to rescue any crisis-hit European banks.

The idea was floated by French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde. She suggested the creation of an emergency EU fund that would be available if a bank were on the brink of going under. It was swiftly rejected by Germany.

Today top French presidential adviser Henri Guaino took a further step backward, denying that France has studied the creation of any special fund.

“There is no rescue plan under study by France that foresees creation of a European fund of €300bn,” he said. “Such a fund would be extremely difficult to quickly put together, very difficult to govern on the European level.”

However, it remained unclear whether he disputed the price or the very idea for a fund.

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