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Europe Eyeing US Auto Industry Aid


European officials are taking a close look at how the United States is helping its ailing auto industry.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she wants to make sure aid to the U.S. auto industry will not put Europe's own auto companies at a competitive disadvantage.

Merkel's comments came at a news conference Tuesday in the northern Italian city of Trieste with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Carmakers in both the U.S. and Europe have been asking for government help, with French automaker Peugeot, Europe's second largest car company, warning the global auto industry is in danger of a collapse.

Meanwhile, France wants to see a stronger international response to the global financial crisis.

In a statement released today, French President Nicolas Sarkozy says France will host a summit in January because world leaders must show they can offer "concrete solutions."

At a meeting of industrial and developing countries last week in Washington, leaders only managed to agree on a set of principles to prevent the global economy from getting worse.

The Paris summit will be co-hosted by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and will include world leaders as well as Nobel prize-winning economists.

Reuters news agency reports International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn says the list of countries asking for help is growing every day. And Russian President Dmitri Medvedev says his government may need to spend another $180 billion to stabilize the Russian economy.

Russia has already spent almost $200 billion on a series of measures to counter the economic meltdown. The World Bank today cut its growth forecast for the Russian economy in 2008 and 2009.

India is also worried about the effect of the global financial crisis on its economic growth. Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said Tuesday the government should cut interest rates. He also called on businesses to cut prices and accept lower profit margins to help stimulate the Indian economy.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says the financial crisis is having an impact on donations from wealthy nations.

And migrant workers from the Philippines tell VOA the financial crisis is having an impact on how much money they are able to send to their families back home.

In 2007, Filipino migrant workers sent more than $14 billion to the Philippines, equal to 13 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.