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Financial turmoil to cloud EU summit
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At the upcoming summit, EU leaders were scheduled to adopt the next three year cycle of the Lisbon strategy, ensuring that the process of reform and modernization will continue to deliver results in the EU, providing additional security against turbulence in international markets.

"Overall, the way for the EU to cope with the current shocks facing the global economy is to maintain sound and stable macro-economic policies supporting a balanced policy-mix and continue the course of structural reforms," the commission said in a document prepared for the summit.

"With the Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs, the EU has the right policies and instruments to help it weather the current storms and continue to deliver growth and jobs," it said.

In addition to reforms on the macro-economic level, EU leaders were also expected to endorse a series of lines of action in the financial sector.

EU finance ministers agreed in October 2007 a road map for reinforcing European and global financial regulation and supervision to fill the gaps revealed by recent financial turmoil in the wake of the US sub-prime crisis.

The roadmap is based on four key areas of work: improving transparency, valuation of financial products, strengthening prudential requirements and making markets function better.

The commission said it asked EU leaders at the summit to build on this road map and "go one step further" by confirming at head of state and government level the principles which will guide the EU internally and in international fora.

Proposed actions include improving information provided by credit ratings agencies, encouraging prompt and full disclosure of losses by financial institutions, improving early warning systems on financial stability and stepping up cooperation between regulatory authorities in the EU and globally.

Europe "can best retain the confidence of market operators and consumers alike by remaining vigilant and determined at times of added stress in the financial markets, working with international partners to identify weaknesses and to address these swiftly and effectively," the Commission said.

(Xinhua News Agency March 13, 2008)

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