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Euro rescue plan may be delayed again

October 25, 2011 |  8:01 am

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy speak to reporters on the euro debt crisis Sunday at a European Union summit
REPORTING FROM LONDON -- First it was to have been presented on Sunday. Then the delivery day was pushed back to Wednesday. Now even that deadline may be in doubt.

Reports coming out of Brussels suggest that Europe's leaders, trying to craft a broad-based plan to combat the euro debt crisis, may not reach an agreement by Wednesday evening, as they had pledged to do. Negotiators are reportedly still having trouble nailing down details on how best to leverage Europe's $600-billion bailout fund, now seen as inadequate to deal with trouble spots such as Spain and Italy.

The Associated Press and the BBC are reporting that a meeting of European finance ministers Wednesday has been canceled. However, the summit of all 27 national leaders Wednesday evening is still scheduled.

The ongoing talks may yet produce an agreement by then, especially as the global markets, after rising in recent days in hopes that a "grand plan" would be unveiled, start to lose patience. Many analysts say that the European Union must act now to keep the crisis from completely slipping out of control.

The EU's plan is likely to include an increase in the bailout fund's firepower, a recapitalization of Europe's banking system and a reduction in Greek debt through steep write-downs on government bonds.

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-- Henry Chu

Photo: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy speak to reporters Sunday at a European Union summit, where negotiations on a comprehensive solution to the euro debt crisis was the No. 1 topic. Credit: Thierry Roge / Reuters

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