France wants emergency eurozone debt summit

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France backs the idea of an emergency summit of eurozone countries to prevent Greece's debt crisis infecting Italy and Spain, government spokeswoman Valerie Pecresse said on Wednesday.

President Nicolas Sarkozy told a cabinet meeting that "France has always supported the holding of eurogroup meetings in case of need" and backs the summit now proposed by EU president Herman Van Rompuy, she told reporters.

Asked whether that Brussels summit would go ahead, she replied: "Nothing is definitively settled but there is a clear will by all the eurogroup partners to reach the most effective solution as quickly as possible."

Germany on Wednesday played down the prospects for such an emergency gathering, saying finance ministers should continue their work on the issue.

Eurozone finance ministers on Monday agreed to take new measures to support Greece and strengthen the zone against crises, but this did not calm markets which plunged along with the euro before recovering slightly on Wednesday.

Countries still cannot agree on the role of private lenders, which some see as essential to keep Greece afloat and stabilise the eurozone.

"The question of how to involve the private sector in the rescue plan for Greece remains to be settled," said Pecresse, who is also France's budget minister. "That is what the ongoing work is focussing on."

© 2011 AFP

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