Obama, Merkel, Monti talk on strengthening eurozone: WH

By Staff Reporter
AFP American Edition

Jun 06, 2012 17:31 EDT

US President Barack Obama spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti Wednesday in the latest in a series of calls with Europe's leaders about the debt crisis.

Washington appears increasingly anxious that turmoil which has sent Greece to the edge of exiting the euro and left Spain facing a banking meltdown could escalate and threaten both the US recovery and Obama's reelection hopes.

The White House says Obama agreed with Monti and Merkel in separate calls "on the importance of steps to strengthen the resilience of the eurozone and growth in Europe and globally, and agreed to remain in contact."

The G20 summit in Mexico between June 18-19 is now looming as a crucial juncture in the euro crisis, as world leaders seek action from Europe to prevent contagion spreading beyond its shores.

On Tuesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said that European leaders seemed to be moving with a "heightened sense of urgency and we welcome that. We are hoping to see accelerated European action over the next several weeks."

"A movement to strengthen the European banking system will be of particular importance in this time period," Carney said.

Also on Tuesday, Obama called British Prime Minister David Cameron to speak about issues including the euro crisis.

Cameron's office said that the two leaders agreed on the need for an "immediate plan" to resolve the eurozone crisis.

Neither Obama nor Cameron however are seen as having especially significant leverage on the situation, as Washington has said it will not join any European bailout and Britain is not a member of the eurozone.

Earlier Wednesday, US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner revealed that he had spoken by phone with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan about "developments in international markets and challenges facing the global economy, including Europe," according to the Treasury.

Geithner also met with Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen on Wednesday, with discussions covering "the plans of European leaders to reinforce the institutions of the euro area."

Source: AFP American Edition