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Europe

US, EU Leaders Announce Global Finance Crisis Summits

US President George W Bush and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Saturday, Oct. 18 that emergency global summits on the finance crisis will be held -- the first taking place in the US before the end of November.

President George W. Bush and President Nicolas Sarkozy

President Bush offered to host the first planned global summit in the US in November

The announcement was made at the US presidential retreat, Camp David, outside Washington, where European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso also joined the meeting.

"I look forward to hosting this meeting in the near future," said Bush, who added that developed as well as emerging economies would be included. "We're dealing with a significant problem."

Bush and Sarkozy, who was representing the 27-member European Union as the current president, emphasized their continuing support for free market economies and opposition to protectionism and isolationism.

It is "essential we preserve the foundation of democratic capitalism," Bush said. Sarkozy noted it would be "catastrophic" to close borders and "challenge the foundation of market economies."

Agreement on the summit was announced immediately after Sarkozy and Barroso arrived at Camp David from an EU-Canada summit in Quebec City.

Sarkozy has been pushing for such a conference for weeks, as the first waves of financial panic washed across the Atlantic from the US to European stock markets and banking systems.

The summit will review steps being taken by the US and Europe to rescue the financial system, including banks and other finance firms, from being pulled down through the collapse of the housing bubble.

World leaders will also "seek agreement on principles of reform" needed to avoid another failure and "assure global prosperity in the future," the three men said in the statement.

A global crisis needs a global voice, says Sarkozy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, right, shares a word with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso

Barroso and Sarkozy brought the EU's vision to the US

"First and foremost, this is a worldwide crisis and we must find a worldwide solution," Sarkozy said.

The goal of the emergency summit, Sarkozy said, was to "speak with one and the same voice."

"We must make haste because we must stabilize the market place as swiftly as possible ... 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 again," Sarkozy said.

The French president indicated the meeting could take place in New York, where things began unraveling, and possibly before the end of November, but Bush was vague about the details.

"Insofar as this crisis began in New York, then the global solution must be found in New York," Sarkozy said.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has offered to host the summit at the United Nations, which would lend "universal legitimacy to this endeavor," the French daily Le Figaro reported, quoting a letter from Ban to Sarkozy.

EU and US should build a capitalism of the future

Nicolas Sarkozy

Sarkozy wants the EU to work closely with the US

Sarkozy, who thanked President Bush for using his term of office "right up until the very end," said Europe wanted to work "hand in glove" with the US in building "the capitalism of the future."

"We cannot continue along the same lines," Sarkozy vowed. "Hedge funds cannot continue operating as they have in the past."

"This is no longer acceptable, this is no longer possible," the French president said. "This sort of capitalism is a betrayal of the sort of capitalism we believe in."

Sarkozy noted it would be "catastrophic" to close borders and "challenge the foundation of market economies."

He said the world must crack down on tax havens, and on financial institutions that are under no supervisory control. "This is no longer acceptable," he added.

Sarkozy said the goal of the emergency summit was to "build together a capitalism of the future together."

"The sort of capitalism we have witnessed is a betrayal of the sort of capitalism we believe in," he added.

Calls for a new "Bretton Woods"

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, welcomes Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown before a crisis summit at the Elysee palace in Paris, Sunday Oct.12, 2008.

Sarkozy and Brown aim to rebuild the global finance system

Both Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown have called for the summit to be a "new Bretton Woods." Sarkozy has said it is "necessary to rebuild the entire global financial and monetary system from the bottom up."

In July 1944, an agreement was signed in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, that established new rules for commercial and financial relations among the world's major industrial states.

Sarkozy said EU leaders planned to go to Asia next week to discuss the crisis.

The goal of the summit is to discuss ideas about how to prevent the recurrence of the wave of financial failures that have forced governments to intervene hugely in capital markets and the banking system.

Sarkozy and Barroso also called for the building of a new financial order and new global capitalism system. Sarkozy denounced the failures in the US system that had led to the global crisis.

Series of emergency meetings to begin in November

The expanded idea of a series of meetings was put forth in a statement issued after the men finished meeting.

The G20 finance ministers are planning to meet from November 7-9 in Brazil, but it was not clear if that meeting would be connected to the emergency finance summit.

The G20 includes the G8 most industrialized countries (US, Canada, Italy, Germany, Britain, France, Japan, Russia) and Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, and the European Union.

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