EU leaders say 'No' to protectionism

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EU leaders say 'No' to protectionism

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European leaders have rejected protectionism to prevent a new ‘‘Iron Curtain’‘ dividing the 27 member bloc.

With fears of a rift between western and eastern member states, European leaders held the Brussels summit to seek a unified position on the financial crisis. After talks, the EU Commission chief said state actions to prop up ailing sectors must not harm other countries. ‘‘In fact we have discussed specific issues namely the automotive sectors and how it is possible to support the automobile sector by not breaking the rules of the internal market and not seeing national measures that could be detrimental to other countries,’‘ said EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. Despite calls from some member states for entry rules to the single currency to be relaxed, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said now was not the right moment. ‘‘Concerning the rules for entering the eurozone. I think the majority of countries agree that it would be an error to change the rules of the game at this time,’‘ Topolanek said. Earlier in the day, the leaders of EU eastern and central European countries had held talks to discuss their own individual needs. In particular, Hungary and Lativa are facing serious cash flow problems. Despite already receiving EU emergency aid, there have been calls for hundreds of billions of euros to help the bloc’s weakest economies stave off financial meltdown.