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European Leaders Take Steps to Stem Global Financial Crisis


Leaders from European countries agreed Sunday on a joint plan to attack the financial crisis by guaranteeing inter-bank lending and safeguarding financial institutions from collapse. Lisa Bryant has more from Paris.

The agreement struck by leaders of the 15 countries using the euro currency amounted to another step in adopting a common European approach to tackling the crisis that is pummeling financial institutions around the world.

Following the Paris talks, French President Nicolas Sarkozy - the current European Union President - outlined the details.

Mr. Sarkozy said leaders of the "euro bloc" countries and Britain had agreed on banking guarantees lasting until December 2009, along with inter-bank loans. They can also underwrite new loans of up to five years, among other measures.

The French President said the plan addressed all aspects of the financial crisis and that individual European countries, including France, would unveil their own domestic economic plans on Monday.

Prior to the summit, European leaders sent out positive signals about tackling the crisis. That included British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

"This is an important moment for the world economy," said Gordon Brown. "The decisions we make in the next few days are decisions that will affect us for many years ahead and the eyes of the world are now looking to their governments to help restore confidence in the financial markets."

Leaders of all 27 EU members are expected to examine the agreement when they meet in Brussels on Wednesday.

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