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Europe hastens to build up debt crisis defenses


(Reuters) - European policymakers are quickening their preparations to cope with an escalation of the region's debt crisis as talk of a possible Greek default gained pace on Friday.

Finance chiefs from around the world have turned up the heat on Europe to do more to prevent Greece's debt crisis from infecting the world economy.

Concern now appeared to be turning toward safeguarding the banking system more than rescuing Greece, as international lenders were increasingly losing patience with Athens consistently missing fiscal and reform targets.

"They have six weeks to resolve this crisis," said British finance minister George Osborne, speaking on the sidelines of semi-annual policy discussions in Washington.

Euro zone leaders needed to have the situation under control by the time leaders of the Group of 20 economies meet in France in November, he said.

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