- The Washington Times - Monday, November 28, 2011

The White House said Monday that U.S. taxpayers should not bear the burden of helping stabilize Europe’s economy, even as President Obama was hosting European Union leaders for a summit amid deepening concerns about the future of the euro.

With the EU currency in a particularly perilous state as experts fret it could collapse in a matter of days, Mr. Obama said the U.S. “stands ready to do our part to help resolve this issue.”

“This is of huge importance to our own economy,” Mr. Obama said after the summit. “If Europe is contracting or if Europe is having difficulties, then it’s much more difficult for us to create good jobs here at home because we send so many of our products and services to Europe.

“We’ve got a stake in their success, and we will continue to work in a constructive way to try to resolve this issue in the near future,” he continued.

Earlier Monday, Mr. Obama’s spokesman, Jay Carney, said the U.S. has plenty of experience in dealing with the economic crises but will only offer advice and consultation rather than financial help.

“We do not in any way believe that additional resources are required from the United States or from American taxpayers,” Mr. Carney said.

The EU summit is an annual event focused on the global economy and has not convened specifically to deal with Europe’s worsening financial situation, Mr. Carney said.

Mr. Obama, as well as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner met with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Developments in the past week have raised contagion fears. The cost of Italy’s borrowing jumped to 8 percent Friday, and Germany failed to meet its national bond sales goals Wednesday. Many warn that fiscal crises that have spread from smaller economies such as Greece and Portugal to Italy and Spain could drag down the currency that has become a symbol of the continent’s drive to increase its global clout.

After the meeting, Mr. Van Rompuy said he planned to release a road map on how to strengthen the European economy on Dec. 9.

“We are aiming for binding rules to ensure strong fiscal and economic discipline in all countries, to go hand in hand with fiscal and economic integration - not only discipline, but also integration in the euro area as a whole,” he said.

Mr. Obama has been in frequent communication with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy after meeting with leaders of several European nations earlier this month during the G-20 economic summit in Cannes, France.

The president said the leaders also discussed security cooperation and the joint desire to put more pressure on Iran about its suspected nuclear military programs, also about efforts to prevent terrorism attacks on passenger flights and steps to encourage economic development in North Africa and the Middle East.



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