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Brussels blog by some wire service journalists

Europe seeks growth as austerity takes its toll

By GABRIELE STEINHAUSER and CARLO PIOVANO

BRUSSELS (AP) — Europe’s leaders have said they are committed to supporting economic growth, in a concession that their focus on austerity as the key to solving the debt crisis is not working as unemployment hits record highs and recession looms over the region.

The heads of the 27 European Union governments meeting at a summit in Brussels on Thursday discussed how to improve economic activity and create jobs. But with public policies hamstrung by the commitment to reduce debts, the leaders were short on concrete proposals. Rather than stimulus, they are considering gradual structural reforms such as cutting red tape and improving business conditions.

“This was not a meeting focused on crisis management, it was a meeting focused on growth,” said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso after the summit, which for the first time in months was held under relatively calm conditions in financial markets.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

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