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World financial crisis

US and European leaders agree to economy summits

Article published on the 2008-10-19 Latest update 2008-10-19 09:53 TU

Three men in a buggy - the leaders on their way to the summit(Photo: Reuters)

Three men in a buggy - the leaders on their way to the summit
(Photo: Reuters)

US President George Bush, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso on Saturday agreed to organise a series of summits to try and reform the global financial system. The first will be held on 4 November, soon after the US elections.

The three leaders agreed to a series of summits. It was judged "too ambitious" to try and solve the current financial crisis in a single meeting, according to White House spokesperson Tony Fratto.

He said that the venue of the first meeting has not yet been decided, although Sarkozy proposed New York on the grounds that the crisis began on Wall Street.

After the French president and Barroso had met Bush at the Camp David presidential retreat, Sarkozy warned that it is urgent to stabilise markets "as swiftly as possible by coming up with answers".

"Once calm has been restored, we must avoid at all costs that those who have led us to where we are today should be allowed to do so once again," he added.

The European leaders are seeking to reform the Bretton Woods agreement, which has governed international finance since the end of World War II.

Bush, who officially leaves office in January, insisted that "it is essential that we preserve the foundations of democratic capitalism; the commitment to free markets, free enterprise and free trade".

A joint statement said that world leaders will "review progress being made to address the current crisis and to seek agreement on principles of reform needed to avoid a repetition and assure global prosperity in the future".

Later summits "would be designed to implement agreement on specific steps to be taken to meet those principles", the statement read.

Before the Camp David meeting, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called for a summit before December and the summit of French-speaking nations unanimously backed Sarkozy's call for crisis talks. 

"What is at stake in the restructuring is to treat the rot at the core to avoid another identical crisis." French Prime Minister François Fillon declared at the Francophonie meeting in Quebec City.