Geithner to Push European Leaders on Financial Firewall in Debt Crisis


Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner plans to step up lobbying of European leaders next week to "rapidly and decisively" complete work on their efforts to stabilize and contain the debt crisis rocking the continent but will not bring any offers of U.S. aide with him, a senior Treasury official said Friday.

The official also repeated that the Obama Administration has no plans to ask Congress for any new contributions to the International Monetary Fund to assist Europe, saying that the IMF currently has about $400 billion in available resources to help Europe.

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But the official confirmed that officials were discussing additional IMF help for Europe. It has already provided financial support for bailouts of Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

Geithner heads to Europe next week ahead of the summit of European leaders next Friday in Brussels. The official said that his agenda includes continuing talks about creating a "firewall" to respond to debt and future financing needs of struggling countries, strengthening bank liquidity and capital, and advancing the Greek bailout.

The Treasury official said the president asked Geithner to make the trip to follow up on the president's ongoing discussions and recent meetings with European leaders on the debt crisis. The official repeated that the health of the European economy is important to the U.S. economic recovery, which the official said remains fragile.