BRUSSELS — Europe's efforts to solve its debt crisis plunged into disarray Thursday after Germany and France could not bridge their differences in time for a summit Sunday, forcing them to call a second meeting.
Sunday's summit was supposed to deliver a comprehensive plan to get a grip on the currency union's debt troubles by detailing new financing for debt-ridden Greece, a plan to make Europe's banks fit to sustain worsening market turbulence and a scheme to make the eurozone bailout fund more powerful.
The offices of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that they needed more time after it became clear that the currency union's two biggest countries could not agree on the main points of the plan.
Both governments said that all elements of the eurozone's crisis strategy would be discussed Sunday "so it can be definitively adopted by the Heads of State and Government at a second meeting Wednesday at the latest." It also said that the two leaders would meet Saturday evening ahead of the summit in Brussels in the hope of making progress.
The announcement of a second summit is likely to increase concern over the eurozone's ability to stick together and stabilize the common currency. Sunday's summit had already been delayed from earlier in the week to give leaders more time to agree on key issues.
"The parochialism and procrastination that got us into this mess continues," said Sony Kapoor, managing director of economic think tank Re-Define. "Unless EU leaders pull a rabbit out of their hat now, this will worsen the already deep politico-economic crisis … Europe is facing."