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Putin Says Russia Will Help EU, Welcomes Anti-Crisis Steps

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised his French counterpart that Russia is ready to help the euro area resolve its debt crisis.

“We welcome the efforts of our European partners and friends to overcome their economic difficulties,” Putin said in Moscow at a joint briefing today with Francois Fillon. “We all want to see these difficulties overcome as soon as possible.”

Europe’s failure to staunch the turmoil threatens to slow the global economy and trigger another financial downturn, eroding demand for Russia’s commodity products. The world’s biggest energy exporter wants to increase the weight of developing nations in the International Monetary Fund after pledging to aid the euro region, according to the Kremlin.

Russia has about $100 billion it can contribute to international bailouts, according to Commerzbank AG. The country’s reserves totaled $516 billion as of Nov. 11, according to the central bank.

European nations struggling with high debt burdens including Italy and Greece, which have new technocratic governments, are acting to overhaul their finances, said Fillon.

“The countries in difficulty are already implementing the necessary measures,” he said.

‘Very Strict’ Measures

In Greece, Cabinet approval for a fiscal plan to almost halve the deficit next year “will allow the very strict implementation of all the measures” demanded by European nations and the IMF to release aid, he said. “This is the case in Italy with the new government of Mario Monti,” the French premier said.

European policy makers are looking beyond their borders to help more than double the size of their 440 billion-euro ($597 billion) rescue fund to 1 trillion euros. The BRICS group of emerging economies, comprising Russia, China, Brazil, India, Brazil and South Africa, discussed providing aid for the euro zone via the IMF earlier this month at the Group of 20 summit in Cannes, France. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in Moscow Nov. 7.

“Europe will survive this crisis, and not only will it survive it, but it will emerge strengthened,” Fillon said.

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