They came together to bail out the banks, now Europe’s leaders are seeking global action to ensure such desperate measures are never again required.
The EU summit was devoted to climate change but was initially dominated by the world’s economic woes.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy led calls for an international conference next month on reforming the world financial order. But there was less agreement on state intervention as a remedy for recession.
Sarkozy said: “Does economic policy need the same coordination as the financial crisis? From this presidency’s point of view: yes, yes, yes. Is that unanimous? For the moment: No, no, no.”
On the climate issue the 27 member states stuck to ambitious targets for tackling global warming, despite Italy and a group of eastern European nations calling for caution during the economic crisis.
The bloc has committed itself to a December deadline for a deal on climate change laws and the promotion of renewable energy resources.
But Poland and Italy are threatening to use their vetos against any proposals that might harm their industries.
Europe’s Greens, however, are urging Brussels to stick to its guns. One MEP said the measures under consideration had been devised to take into account the economic vulnerability of some states.
On other issues there is still no sign of a breakthrough on the Lisbon Treaty on reforming the EU. It was derailed by a negative referendum result in Ireland. But the leaders did succeed in adopting a new package on managing immigration.
It bases legal migration on labour market needs and reception capacity.