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Brussels blog by some wire service journalists

European Union weighs greater unity to save euro

By DON MELVIN and JAMEY KEATEN

BRUSSELS (AP) — The leaders of Germany and France are pushing their European counterparts to save the ambitious project of continental unity that grew from the ashes of World War II.

At stake at the summit in Brussels, which began Thursday evening, is the future of the euro, the stability of the global financial system and the balance of power in Europe.

To convince financial markets that Europe’s economy-crushing debt crisis is a one-time event, countries will have to give up significant powers, such as some decisions on borrowing and spending, to a central authority.

President Nicolas Sarkozy and Chancellor Angela Merkel face daunting challenges: the need for unanimity among 27 national leaders, if they choose to work within the EU; the burden of convincing the 17 countries that use the euro to yield some control over their national budgets; the need to do something that will inspire confidence in the financial markets.

For the summit to be declared a success, at a minimum the 27 leaders gathered in Brussels “should agree on some kind of fiscal plan in terms of governance,” said Paul de Grauwe, an economics professor and EU expert at the Catholic University of Leuven, in Belgium.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

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Don Melvin

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