Euro Leaders Aim to Buy Time to Save Currency - Bloomberg
European leaders return to work from Christmas holidays seeking to buy time for the Spanish and Italian governments to wrest control over their debt and rescue the single currency from fragmentation as the region’s crisis enters a new year.
Some 157 billion euros ($203 billion) in debt will mature in the 17-member euro area in the first three months of 2012, according to UBS AG. By the end of that period, leaders have pledged to draft a stricter rulebook for controlling government spending. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy will meet in Berlin Jan. 9 to work out details.
“The path to overcoming this won’t be without setbacks, but at the end of this path, Europe will emerge stronger from the crisis than before,” Merkel said in a New Year’s speech broadcast Dec. 31. She said that her government will do “everything” to bring the euro out of the slump.
On the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the euro bank notes that replaced national currencies, the euro for the first time had two consecutive annual losses against the U.S. dollar and plunged to a record low against the yen. European leaders are struggling to hold the monetary union together in the face of credit downgrades, emerging splits in the European Union and a looming recession that could compound rising debt.