Obama: U.S. will do its part to help Europe
Acknowledging the strong link between the European and American economies, President Obama said Monday that the United States is ready to help the euro zone stabilize its economy and revive growth.
"The United States stands ready to do our part to help them resolve this issue," President Obama said at the White House after meeting with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. "If Europe is contracting... it's much more difficult for us to create jobs here at home. We've got a stake in their success."
The president's meeting with the E.U. leaders, part of a long scheduled annual summit, comes as Mr. Obama stays in regular communication with German President Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy over the European debt crisis. The White House has pressed European leaders to address the economic crisis there, particularly now that new governments are taking over in Italy, Greece and Spain.
While Mr. Obama did not elaborate on what actions the United States might take. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday that "We do not in any way believe that additional resources are required from the United States, from American taxpayers."
Some European governments have called on the International Monetary Fund -- of which the U.S. is the biggest stakeholder -- to take a bigger role in addressing the crisis. Carney said the IMF "can play a role on the side, if you will... but the issue here is a European issue and Europe needs to act."
Barroso said from the White House that Europe is "determined to overcome the current difficulties" and added, "We are absolutely serious about the magnitude of the challenge."
Still, he said, "Sometimes some decisions take time."
The White House meeting comes on the heels of two grim reports issued Monday warning of the consequences the euro zone could face should it fail to take bold action.
Moody's Investors Service warned that a series of defaults could spur countries to abandon the euro, putting the credit ratings of all European countries at risk, the Washington Post reports. The agency predicted that widespread defaults would only be avoided after deep economic shocks prompted European leaders into action.
Meanwhile, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an international economic group that includes the U.S., called the European debt crisis the "key risk to the global economy." The OECD said the European Central Bank should take a more active role in stemming the crisis, but European leaders are divided on the matter.
Mr. Obama discussed a range of other issues with Barroso and Van Rompuy, including political developments in North Africa and the Middle East, policy toward Iran and climate change policy.
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