Spanish, French leaders move to boost EU economic cooperation

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero agreed Tuesday on the need to boost economic cooperation in the face of the Greek debt crisis, a Spanish government source said.

The two leaders met for about half an hour on the sidelines of the EU-Latin America summit in Madrid.

They agreed to "speed up measures taken to ease doubts in the markets" following the debt crisis in Greece, the source said.

They also pledged to "strengthen the Eurogroup" of 16 nations that share the euro currency, and step up coordination among the 27 EU states,

And they discussed the need to include the new British government of David Cameron in the European economic strategy, even if Britain is not a member of the eurozone.

Greece on Tuesday received the first 14.5-billion-euro slice of European Union loan support to help it meet an imminent debt deadline.

The EU also agreed on Tuesday on the need for strict new curbs on the trillion-dollar hedge fund industry, despite stiff resistance from Britain.

© 2010 AFP

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