European Leaders Meet On Financial Crisis European heads of government are gathering in Paris for an economic summit to discuss ways to deal with their own teetering banks. France has proposed an agreement for a $500 billion bailout fund, but Germany and others are opposed.

European Leaders Meet On Financial Crisis

European Leaders Meet On Financial Crisis

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European heads of government are gathering in Paris for an economic summit to discuss ways to deal with their own teetering banks. France has proposed an agreement for a $500 billion bailout fund, but Germany and others are opposed.

ANDREA SEABROOK, Host:

In a few minutes, we'll take an audio journey down one American Main Street. They also spurred the leaders of Europe's four biggest economies to hold an emergency summit today in Paris. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley has been watching, and Eleanor, why the meeting, today?

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY: Statistics show that France is officially now in a recession. At the same time, there's been division on what to do. French Finance Minister Christine Legarde proposed a sort of European bailout fund like the U.S. fund. Germany shot that right down saying, we're not going to, you know, issue any blank checks. French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the leaders of the four major economies together to send out a signal and show that Europe was coordinated and would fight this financial downturn.

SEABROOK: So, Eleanor, what did they decide today?

BEARDSLEY: What there really was today was sort of a defense of European values of capitalism because, in this whole crisis, we've seen sort of a difference, especially in Euro zone, continental Europe, with sort of what's seen as Anglo-Saxon, free for all capitalism. And if you listen to what French President Nicolas Sarkozy says, this really sets the tone for the whole meeting.

NICOLAS SARKOZY: (French spoken)

BEARDSLEY: Sarkozy says, we want to lay the groundwork for a capitalism of the entrepreneur and not the speculator. We want a moral capitalism and the creation of value. We want people to have confidence, and we want to create a new world on the ashes of this crisis.

SEABROOK: NPR's Eleanor Beardsley in Paris. Thanks very much, Eleanor.

BEARDSLEY: Thank you.

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