Europe’s leaders put to the test as its banks stare into the abyss

Wednesday, September 14, 2011
By Paul Martin

Europe’s leaders battle to keep faith with euro as Greek bailout flounders

Amid fresh setbacks in struggle to rescue Greece, US treasury secretary prepares to join euro crisis meetings in Poland

Ian Traynor in Brussels and Dominic Rushe in New York
Wednesday 14 September 2011

Europe’s struggle to come good on pledges to rescue Greece from bankruptcy and save its single currency has descended into confusion amid political feuding and parliamentary setbacks across the eurozone.

Angela Merkel’s coalition in Germany faced rows about whether Greece should be allowed to fail; a parliamentary committee in Austria delayed a vote to ratify plans for a stronger bailout fund; and Slovakia’s Eurosceptic parliamentary speaker demanded that Greece be allowed to go bust, making clear that he would seek to undermine the plan hatched at a eurozone summit in July in Brussels.

Amid the cacophony, José Manuel Barroso, head of the European commission, voiced exasperation at the failure of EU national leaders to keep their promises and talked up the benefits of eurobonds, a pooling of eurozone government debt.

The Polish finance minister said the survival of the EU was at stake. “Europe is in danger,” Jacek Rostowski told the European parliament in Strasbourg. “If the euro area breaks up, the European Union will not be able to survive.”

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