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Zoellick: Providing Liquidity Not Enough to End Europe's Crisis

The current liquidity support measures being used by the European Union to stem the region's banking and sovereign debt crisis won't be enough, World Bank President Robert Zoellick told CNBC in an interview on Tuesday.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick addresses the media during a press conference following his meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on September 2, 2009 in Beijing, China.
JHSB | ChinaFotoPress | Getty Images
World Bank President Robert Zoellick addresses the media during a press conference following his meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on September 2, 2009 in Beijing, China.

"They've tried to pump money into it, they've tried in the past month... the ECB bought a lot of bonds. But, I think dealing with these problems through liquidity measures will not be sufficient," Zoellick said during a visit to Singapore. Watch the interview here.

The head of the World Bank said European leaders needed to face tough choices about closer fiscal integration or "other alternatives" in order to face up to the falling value of sovereign debt and the risks posed to bank capital.

"Christine Lagarde of the IMF and I from a different position at the World Bank have been trying to prod people to recognize some of these questions," Zoellick added.

Lagarde, who told the Federal Reserve's annual conference in Jackson Hole that European banks needed to be urgently recapitalized, angered some European policymakers and politicianswith her views.

Zoellick chose a less forceful approach, saying the decision ultimately rested not with outsiders, but with European citizens and the heads of government. Still, he repeatedly called for a different strategy at dealing with Europe's debt crisis, though he did not say which option he supported.

"People should not underestimate the European response, but Europeans should not be fooled that that type of response will deal with the fundamental questions that still need to be addressed," Zoellick said.

The markets have been hoping for further monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve to ease global growth concerns, but Zoellick indicated that monetary policy alone won't do the job. Instead, he said a solution to Europe's crisis needed to be found in order to deal with the crisis.

"This one is really even beyond the finance ministers' pay grade. These are going to be the decisions that have to be made by the heads of government and supported by their parliaments," he said.

Contact Europe: Economy

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