- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 9, 2008

The White House tried Saturday to put a positive spin on the results of a Friday meeting in Brussels, where European Union leaders set a more-ambitious agenda for next weekend’s economic summit in Washington than the U.S. wants.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for concrete action, saying after the Brussels meeting he was “not going to take part in a summit where there is just talk for talk’s sake. … We want to change the rules of the game in the financial world.”

The EU called for agreement on five principles, according to the Associated Press: more oversight of ratings agencies, aligned accounting standards, closing oversight and regulation loopholes, banking codes of conduct that discourage risk-taking, and a bigger role for the International Monetary Fund.

White House press secretary Dana Perino, in a statement Saturday, said the Bush administration was “pleased that European leaders, in a statement released yesterday, recognized the importance of coordinating responses to the financial crisis.”

“We agree with European leaders on the importance of identifying common principles to guide reforms, setting out a process to implement those principles promptly, and proceeding with actions on certain reforms immediately,” she said.

Although removing the dollar from its role as the world’s sole reserve currency is not on the EU’s official agenda, Mr. Sarkozy called for that on his own: “The time when we had a single currency, one line to be followed, that era is over.”

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