Europe rejects U.S. approach to financial crisis, stirring doubts about plan
European officials working to address the region’s financial crisis have rejected key recommendations from the United States and the International Monetary Fund, casting doubt on whether an emerging plan will be as broad or fast-acting as hoped.
As crisis negotiations continued this weekend, European officials said they had reached general agreement on a response they were confident would restore faith in European banks and government finances.
The detailed plan to be agreed on by European officials next weekend “will be decisive,” French Finance Minister Francois Baroin said Saturday as he concluded a two-day session with finance ministers from the Group of 20 major economic powers.
But the plan excludes the open-ended use of the European Central Bank as a guarantor of government debt and the swift infusion of public capital into banks that U.S. and IMF officials say could be critical to restoring confidence in the euro region. Both were central elements of the effort to shore up the U.S. financial system three years ago.
“They clearly have more work to do,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said after the meetings adjourned, withholding judgment on whether the European plan will prove convincing.
“It’s all in the details,” he said. “In financial crises, it is more risky to act gradually and incrementally than to act with bold force.”
At the peak of the U.S. crisis, then-Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. summoned major bank executives to an October 2008 meeting in Washington and ordered them to immediately accept billions of dollars in government money. Paulson argued that the infusion of funds was vital for saving the financial system and that all the banks had to take the money, regardless of whether they needed it, so none would be singled out for accepting a bailout.
European leaders have rejected a similarly swift and dramatic response…