Europe Rejects US Rebuke Over Debt

Posted September 17th, 2011 at 5:35 pm (UTC-5)
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European Central Bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet says the financial position of the 17-member euro zone is better than that of other major economies.

Trichet spoke Saturday at the end of a two-day meeting of European Union finance ministers in Wroclaw, Poland. He described the medium-term prospects for euro zone countries as “quite encouraging.”

His remarks follow comments Friday by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who urged the EU to take quick action on its financial crisis. Geithner also said political wrangling in Europe is making the situation worse.

Geithner's appearance at the Poland meeting signaled growing American concern that Europe's financial crisis may threaten the U.S. economic recovery.

The EU ministers delayed a decision on whether to give Greece the next $11 billion to help it avert default. They also failed to conclude a debate on introducing a financial transactions tax.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou Saturday cancelled his planned visit to the United States to deal with the deepening crisis at home. Greece is under pressure to fulfill austerity commitments made to the EU in return for the next portion of its $150 billion bailout for Athens.

The EU meeting ended sooner than planned as thousands of demonstrators gathered in Wroclaw to protest proposed economic austerity measures, including a reduction in public benefits payments, fewer services, and possible tax increases.

Many EU countries have been resorting to austerity measures, as the grouping tries to deal with the spiraling financial crisis.