30 Nov 2011

Obama urges Europe to act fast over debt crisis

5:03 am on 30 November 2011

US President Barack Obama has urged Europe to act quickly to resolve the sovereign debt crisis that threatens the eurozone and could damage the fragile American economy.

Mr Obama told top European officials in Washington the issue is hugely important, the BBC reports.

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council president Herman Van Rompuy acknowledge that Europe is going through tough times.

Both stressed the importance of the relationship - political and economic - with the United States.

Mr Barroso said that strong measures take time, but believes Europe will overcome the debt crisis.

On one point both men were unequivocal: the answer lay in more integration - a set of fiscal rules that would mirror the troubled monetary union.

Mr Obama has pledged America's support.

Eurozone finance ministers will meet in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss ways to expand the region's bailout fund, seen as key to preventing more countries being sucked into the debt crisis.

They are also expected to discuss releasing more bailout funds to Greece.

The ministers want to help prevent contagion in bond markets. Ratings agency Moody's has warned it could downgrade the subordinated debt of 87 banks across 15 European countries.

They are expected to discuss jointly issuing so-called eurobonds as a way of having the different countries guarantee each other's debts.