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European leaders to meet ahead of financial summit

By Tejinder Singh, IANS,

Brussels : European leaders are set to gather in Brussels Nov 7 to try and agree to a consensus ahead of a global financial summit to address reforms to international financial institutions.

France, which holds the rotating European Union presidency this year, said in a brief statement Friday that the informal meeting of EU heads of state and government will prepare the EU’s 27 member-states for an upcoming financial summit Nov 15 in Washington on the global financial crisis.

The summit was announced by the White House after a meeting last weekend between US President George W. Bush, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

The White House said President Bush would host leaders of 20 of the world’s richest nations and biggest emerging economies, including India and China.

At an emergency EU Summit Oct 15-16 here, EU leaders had agreed that a massive overhaul of the world’s financial system is needed to prevent another financial crisis and asked Sarkozy and Barroso to hold further discussions with the US administration.

The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, however, failed to answer questions from journalists over what preparations were in place for the Nov 7 summit.

Commission spokesperson Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen said European Commission members are to meet Oct 29 to prepare for the upcoming global summit in the US.

The US-hosted talks are expected to draw leaders from the Group of 20: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, Britain, the US, and the European Union.