The European Union's top economic official has blamed the current turmoil in global stock markets on major imbalances in the U.S. economy.

Joaquin Almunia says these imbalances include the large U.S. trade deficit and government overspending, which have forced Washington to take on huge debt.

Almunia was speaking Tuesday in Brussels after meeting with EU finance ministers.

He says European Union economies are fundamentally solid and do not suffer the same problems as the United States.  Almunia also says the EU does not need to "imitate" steps taken by the U.S. and other governments to stimulate their economies.

But, the EU official acknowledges that European economic growth will be lower in 2008 than previously expected.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.