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EU crisis escalating, IMF warns

Dec 16 2011 10:58 AFP

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Washington - The European crisis is escalating and threatens every economy in the world, International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde warned on Thursday.

"The issues that we have in front of us now are not just a concern for the eurozone, not just a concern for the European Union, not just a concern for the advanced economies," she told a forum on women in politics at the US State Department.

"There is no economy in the world, whether low-income countries, emerging markets, middle-income countries or super-advanced economies, that will be immune to the crisis that we see not only unfolding but escalating."

With Europe's leaders still struggling after months to come up with a comprehensive fix to end the crisis, Lagarde said the resolution will involve efforts from all countries and regions.

But, she added, "clearly it's going to have to start from the core of the crisis at the moment, which is obviously the European countries, and in particular the countries of the eurozone."

She said the 17-nation eurozone was not "properly completed" after its establishment in 1999 because disciplined fiscal and monetary policies of the were not fully laid down and enforced.

At a summit last Friday, eurozone leaders agreed to tough new standards for fiscal spending and borrowing in hopes of quelling market worries that one or more of the group could default on their debt and fracture the single-currency zone.

With markets now concerned that Friday's pact is frail and has left many questions unanswered, an IMF official earlier on Thursday called for swift action on it.

"It is important now to implement the summit's decisions. That is the next step," said spokesperson David Hawley.

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