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European Nations Struggle to Address Financial Crisis


Governments across Europe are scrambling to save failing banks Sunday, a day after European leaders called for a more coordinated response to the global financial crisis.

In Germany today, government and business leaders met to discuss efforts to save the troubled commercial property lender, Hypo Real Estate AG. A $48 billion rescue plan to salvage the German company fell through Saturday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said officials are working hard to secure the lending company. She said Berlin will not allow the distress of one financial institution to distress the entire system.

In Belgium, financial officials struggled to find a buyer for Fortis, a Belgian and Dutch banking and insurance group. The Netherlands recently nationalized the group's Dutch operations.

The leaders of France, Britain, Germany and Italy met Saturday in Paris and agreed to sign a formal pact to support their individual banking sectors.

Europe's financial system has been hard hit by the U.S. economic crisis.

In the United States, banking giant Citigroup announced today that a judge has agreed to temporarily block the sale of troubled Wachovia Bank to rival Wells Fargo Bank. Citigroup says the deal violates an earlier agreement it had reached to take over Wachovia.

U.S. lawmakers approved $700 billion financial bailout plan on Friday. The plan allows the U.S. government to buy failing investments from troubled financial companies in an effort to restore lender and investor confidence, and to restart economic growth.

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