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Bush Meets With European Leaders for Financial Crisis Talks


French President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso meet Saturday with President Bush in a bid for a global overhaul of the world's financial structure. From Paris, Lisa Bryant reports that Washington may be less enthusiastic about the European proposal.

The meeting between the European and American leaders is taking place at Camp David, a bucolic retreat outside Washington. It comes just days after European leaders in Brussels agreed to work jointly to aid their ailing banks and fight against the world's worst financial crisis in decades.

At the Brussels summit, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, the current European Union president, stressed the need for a coordinated EU response to the bloc's economic problems as well as its financial ones.

Sarkozy said European leaders wanted to defend savers and businesses that wanted to invest. Behind the financial crisis, he said, was a potential economic one.

But Sarkozy and other Europeans, including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, want to go further. They talk about overhauling financial institutions and having a new version of the post World War II Bretton Woods conference that established a new monetary and financial system.

That is what they may be bringing to the table during talks with President Bush at Camp David.

In remarks in Brussels this week, Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Junker said discussion and coordination between Europe and the United States on the financial crisis was indispensable. Emerging countries like India and China should also play a role, he said, in talks that should take place by the year's end.

But the Bush administration has offered a more cautious reaction to the idea, particularly as it comes less than three weeks before the nation's presidential elections. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Friday she did not believe the summit between Mr. Bush and the Europeans will lead to any new policy announcements.


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