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EU welcomes ‘constructive’ Geithner input on debt

BRUSSELS, 27 Sept – Europe on Tuesday welcomed the “constructive” contribution of US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to the debate about how best to prevent the eurozone debt crisis from triggering a global recession.

Geithner on Monday urged Europe for a third time in three weeks to increase its efforts to resolve its debt problems and European Union economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn’s spokesman said maintaining a “very active” trans-Atlantic dialogue was vital.

“Commissioner Rehn in particular considers the contributions of Mr Geithner to be very constructive,” Amadeu Altafaj said when asked about a sceptical reaction from Germany to US calls for more money to shore up Greece and other weak eurozone states.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble clashed with Geithner in Wroclaw, Poland, at EU talks, arguing that taxpayers could not guarantee any more loans to eurozone states whose public finances were not in order.

He again on Monday shot down suggestions, voiced by Rehn in the German press, that Berlin could raise those guarantees in the coming months.

“We are on the contrary looking forward to maintaining this very active and regular dialogue with the US admininstration,” Altafaj said.

“It is obvious this crisis has an impact on other international players,” he said, adding that while the EU and the United States “may not agree on all the points … (US) interest and support” is valued.

Rehn has met Geithner three times in as many weeks at EU and other international gatherings, in Marseille, France, Wroclaw and Washington.

Altafaj said that “all the decisions” taken since a May 2010 agreement to give Greece a first bailout had been done so amid in-depth discussion with international partners at G7, G8 and G20 levels.

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