Emergency summit on economic crisis Saturday
The aim of the summit is to prepare for the next G8 meeting on the global financial crisis.
Paris -- After days of speculation, the office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that an emergency summit meeting on the global financial crisis would take place in Paris on Saturday.
Taking part in the summit will be leaders of the EU countries that are also members of the G-8 group of leading industrial nations -- France, Germany, Britain and Italy -- as well Eurogroup head Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, and European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet.
According to the statement, the aim of the summit is to prepare for the next G-8 meeting on the global financial crisis. However, developing a European response to the crisis is also certain to be on the agenda.
For example, France, which holds the rotating EU presidency, has made a number of proposals to make the European banking sector more secure, including unifying rules on bank deposit guarantees and reinforcing cross-border regulatory cooperation.
Earlier Thursday, a top advisor to French President Nicolas Sarkozy might have provided a topic of discussion by saying the financial crisis had "temporarily" rendered the Maastricht criteria on public deficits not a top priority.
"Temporarily, (the criteria) is not the priority of priorities," Henry Guaino told Canal Plus television. "The priority is to save the world banking system and therefore save citizens' savings."
The criteria, set out in the Treaty of Maastricht, include a ceiling on the national budget deficit of less than 3 percent of GDP and public debt not exceeding 60 percent of GDP.
"These are rules for ordinary times, not rules for crises," Guaino said. "Today, the question is to know if, yes or no, we let things go, the system collapses, or if we stop the system from collapsing."
Guaino is considered Sarkozy's closest advisor and the man behind many of his policies.
Another subject could be an alleged proposal by the French government to propose a massive bailout of Europe's finance sector similar to the Paulson plan put forward in the United States.
Several media outlets reported on Wednesday that the French government would propose a bailout plan worth 300 billion euros (417 billion dollars) at Saturday's summit.
On Wednesday, a spokesman of the German Finance Ministry rejected such an idea, saying, "The German government thinks nothing of such a plan."
The French Finance Ministry then issued a statement denying ever having considered such an idea.