Obama sends economic adviser to Europe

A man walks by a board at the Athens stock exchange on May 7, 2012. This week the Obama administration sent a top economic adviser to Europe to encourage leaders to act on the euro zone financial crisis.

David Brancaccio: With borrowing costs spiking for Spain and Italy right now, the Obama administration has sent a top treasury official to Europe to encourage, strongly encourage, European leaders to take decisive action on their financial mess.

Christopher Werth reports from London.


Christopher Werth: Lael Brainard is the under secretary for international affairs at the treasury department, and she’s come to Europe with little time to spare.

With an election on the horizon in Greece, and worries Spain could seek a bailout, Christian Schulz of Germany’s Berenberg Bank says these next few weeks will be key to resolving the debt crisis in Europe.

Christian Shulz: So it is a very good moment I think to send an envoy and try to influence the debate in Europe. An economic crisis anywhere in the world, which could have a material impact on the U.S. economy would be very negative.

Brainard will likely try to get European leaders to promote growth, increase their bailout fund, and make clear that a Greek exit from the eurozone would have a huge impact on the global economy. The question is: will anyone in Europe listen?

Carsten Brzeski is with ING Bank in Brussels.

Carsten Brzeski: I’m not saying they will show her the cold shoulder, but I think they will at least show some reservations.

He says the U.S. may still be the biggest economy in the world, but its influence in Europe is limited.

In London, I’m Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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