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Geithner headed to Europe to meet with Sarkozy and key officials

December 2, 2011 | 10:31 am

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner will head to Europe next week to meet with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, new Italian leader Mario Monti, and other key government officials to discuss their efforts to resolve the debt crisis

Geithner, who has been urging European leaders to take more forceful action, will travel there for three days beginning Tuesday "for discussions with his counterparts on their efforts to reinforce the institutions in the Euro area," the Treasury Department said Friday.

In addition to meetings with Monti and Sarkozy, a key player along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in trying to address the European debt crisis, Geithner will meet with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and Jens Weidmann, president of Germany's central bank.

Geithner also has meetings scheduled with the finance ministers of Germany and France, as well as with Mariano Rajoy Brey, the prime minister-elect of Spain.

The Federal Reserve joined with the European Central Bank and four other central banks this week to ease the crisis. In a coordinated move, the central banks made it easier for European leaders to access U.S. dollars cheaply in hopes of avoiding a freeze in credit markets.

Geithner told reporters Thursday that he supported the action.

"I think this was a responsible, sensible way for the Federal Reserve and other central banks to try to diminish some of the pressures you're seeing on European financial institutions," he said. The U.S. has an interest in doing that to reduce the need of European banks to shed assets, which could harm global economic growth, Geithner said.


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-- Jim Puzzanghera in Washington

Photo: Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, left, French Central Bank Governor Christian Noyer and French Finance Minister Francois Baroin at the G20 finance summit in Paris in October. Credit: EPA