U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday said he was deeply concerned about the euro zone crisis and market turmoil would continue until Europe has a concrete plan to deal with its sovereign debt woes.
Mr. Obama issued the warning during a joint news conference Wednesday with Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Canberra, Australia.
His comments added to a chorus of non-European policymakers urging greater action to deal with the crisis, and came as equity markets fell in response to a sell-off in eurozone bond markets.
Mr. Obama said European leaders need to put in place a “concrete plan” to show financial markets they will back the euro despite concerns sparked by the current debt crisis.
“Until we put in place a concrete plan and structure that sends a clear signal to the markets that Europe is standing behind the Euro and will do what it takes, we are going to continue to see the kinds of market turmoil we saw,” Mr Obama told a media conference.
He said the U.S. is closely consulting with European officials and praised what he called the “genuine desire” of leaders like French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to solve the crisis.
Still, the U.S. president said the main problem facing the eurozone is a “problem of political will,” adding that he remains deeply concerned about the impact the debt crisis is having on the world economy.
Mr. Obama’s comments come one day after U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told an event in Washington sponsored by the Wall Street Journal that European officials need to take action “so they don’t continually fall behind the curve of the market.”
Geithner also said he believed the Europe Union is making gradual progress and that a solution is still within reach.
Fears the European financial crisis is about to get worse sent Japan’s Nikkei and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng indexes lower in Wednesday’s early trading.
Meanwhile, there is someone who is positive about the Italian economy. Legendary fashion designer Giorgio Armani said: “I believe all this will end very soon. We have to remember that Italian people are very strong in being able to be up and running again.”
“This is testified by history. What is needed is a strong surge of national unity and massive determination to get things going again. At such a challenging time, the indispensible qualities are cohesion, a sense of untiy and hope for the future,” he added. [via Reuters and RTE]