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EU Leaders Meet to Prepare for G20 Meeting in US


European Union leaders were gathering in Brussels Thursday evening for an informal summit to forge a common position on economic stimulus packages, financial regulation and climate change, ahead of a key G20 meeting in the United States.

Ahead of the evening meeting in Brussels, a draft document indicated areas where the 27 European leaders hoped to speak with a common voice during a G20 summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

When it comes to fighting the financial crisis, the leaders appear to support continuing economic stimulus packages to revive their flagging economies. The leaders will also try to agree to a common stance on financial regulation - to try to prevent future economic meltdowns.

During a Tuesday meeting ahead of the Brussels summit, French President Minister Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said they agreed there should be tougher banking regulation, including curbing generous bonuses for bankers.

Gordon Brown called for action.

"In every part of the world, people have been shocked by the level of bonuses," he said. "What people are worried about is that banks are going to return to the old ways unless they get an agreement around the world, then what one individual country does can be offset by a failure to take action in another country."

But some analysts, like Philip Whyte, of the Center for European Reform in London, suggest disagreements remain within the European Union.

"It's not yet clear to me that we are going to get a common European position. To some extent there is a disagreement on some of the specifics on how to deal with the bonuses in the financial sector," he said. "In France and Germany, the financial sector is being blamed for provoking the financial crisis and there is some political momentum to actually impose caps on bankers' bonuses. In the US and the UK, there is some recognition that the bonuses may have been a contributory factor but neither country believes that imposing a cap is the way to deal with the problem."

The EU leaders will also discuss a coordinated approach to climate change and trade, ahead of the G20 talks next week.


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