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EU Meets to Hammer Out Financial Rescue Plan


Leaders from the 27-member European Union are meeting in a two-day effort to reach broad endorsement for a financial rescue plan drafted this past weekend by countries using the euro currency. From Paris, Lisa Bryant reports the summit will also tackle climate change and immigration.

The summit in Brussels comes just days after Britain and the 15 countries using the euro agreed to a package worth more than $2 trillion of guarantees and emergency aid to help banks grappling with the world's worst financial crisis in decades.

European leaders who endorsed that deal now want the other E.U. members to agree to it, in a sign of broad European coordination in dealing with the meltdown. The European rescue package is similar to the one adopted in the United States.

At a press conference in Brussels. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said it was important European Union leaders also look ahead.

"Now we need to take this to the next level. Europe is leading the global response. We must continue to do so," Barroso said. "An urgent priority is to further deepen coordination on the international level and more specifically with the U.S."

Not all EU countries agree with the financial measures. Some, like the Czech government, worry about such major state intervention in rescuing banks.

E.U. leaders are also expected to tackle another divisive issue - efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by the year 2020. Some worry a possible recession may make it difficult to bankroll the measures.

But British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who spoke at the press conference, stressed the importance of cutting emissions.

"This is not the time to abandon a climate change agenda which is important for the future," Mr. Brown said. "What we have seen over the last year is that oil prices have risen significantly, so the actions to reduce carbon consumption are not the arguments about environmental decay or disaster ... they are arguments about energy security, and they are the arguments about the affordability and making us less dependent on a commodity."

On Thursday, the EU leaders are also expected to address immigration issues.

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