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EU spending-shy at summit

brussels bureau

EU spending-shy at summit


European Union leaders have been rejecting American calls for a stiffer economic stimulus effort.

Going into a summit in Brussels, they appeared convinced they are doing enough to counteract the downward drag, and want to focus on new global financial architecture. Yet European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said stimulation plus regulation were on the bill: “It is not to say: ‘Are we going to the stimulus to the economy, or are we going to make the regulation reform and supervision reform?’ We need both.” Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, the current captain of the EU presidency, said until national recovery plans’ effects were gauged, new ones would not make sense. While President Nicolas Sarkozy appeared jovial, French unions led mass rallies condemning his handling of the crisis. Britain France, Germany and others are stressing there needs to be tighter financial supervision. Offially the EU and its members say they will spend 400 billion euros or 3.3 percent of gross domestic product against the recession, over two years. Some of the members are wary of huge deficits. The bloc hopes to fine-tune its stimulus policy position for a summit of the G20 leading economies in two weeks time. This summit continues into Friday.

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