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updated: 6/22/2012 6:43 AM

Key European leaders meet to ease debt crisis

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  • Ademonstrator holds a life saver in front of the headquarters of Bankia bank during a protest against the Spanish bank in Madrid, Spain. Europe's finance ministers meeting Thursday tried to find common ground on whether to soften Greece's austerity terms, possibly clear a bank bailout request from Spain and discuss new ways to boost confidence in the 17-country eurozone.

      Ademonstrator holds a life saver in front of the headquarters of Bankia bank during a protest against the Spanish bank in Madrid, Spain. Europe's finance ministers meeting Thursday tried to find common ground on whether to soften Greece's austerity terms, possibly clear a bank bailout request from Spain and discuss new ways to boost confidence in the 17-country eurozone.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

ROME -- The leaders of Germany, France, Italy and Spain will gather in Rome to seek agreement on ways to ease the widening debt crisis in their currency union.

Any proposals agreed at Friday's summit will be brought to a wider gathering of EU leaders on June 28 and 29.

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Among the items on the agenda are a proposal by Italian Premier Mario Monti to use a bailout fund to buy sovereign debt to bring down interest rates for countries like Spain and Italy and a possible tax on financial transactions.

The meeting caps an intense week, which included the downgrade by Moody's of 15 of the world's largest banks. Spain and Italy have seen their government borrowing costs rise amid market worries about their ability to handle their debt.

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