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Eurozone crisis could rip EU apart: officials

• www.france24.com

AFP - The eurozone crisis could wreck the European Union, top EU officials warned on Wednesday as the leaders of Germany and France held talks with Greece to avoid a default and widespread chaos.

The pressure rose on all fronts with United States again expressing great concern, with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner saying European states "now recognise they are going to have to do more" to resolve to the crisis.

Highlighting the threat to the global economy, Geithner is to exceptionally attend talks between European Union finance ministers and central bankers in Poland on Friday.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou were to hold a teleconference late Wednesday as markets price in a default by the government in Athens, and credit rating giant Moody's downgraded two major French banks given their exposure to Greek debt.

"Europe is in danger," Polish Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski, whose country currently chairs EU meetings, told the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

"If the eurozone breaks up, the European Union will not be able to survive," he added.

At his most dramatic, Rostowski even warned that "war" could return to Europe if the crisis fatally weakens the EU, founded amid the rubble of World War II.

His underlying message was backed up by European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, who described the crisis as "the most serious challenge of a generation."

Barroso stressed: "This is a fight... for the economic and political future of Europe."

 

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