WASHINGTON (Reuters) — U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday a deal struck by euro zone leaders had calmed global markets and that it was now important that the countries follow through on implementation of the agreement.
In an opinion piece published by the Financial Times on its website, Obama also underlined the urgency with which he felt Europe must create a "credible firewall" to bring its debt crisis under control.
"The crisis in Europe must be resolved as quickly as possible. This week, our European allies made important progress on a strategy to restore confidence in European financial markets, laying a critical foundation on which to build," he said.
Washington fears the crisis could imperil the fragile U.S. recovery, and Obama has said that he hoped for concrete progress on tackling the common currency bloc's problems by the time G20 leaders meet in Cannes next week.
Financial markets rallied strongly in relief on Thursday after European leaders hammered out a deal to recapitalize their banks, boost the firepower of a euro zone rescue fund, and impose hefty losses on holders of Greek debt.
But analysts were quick to warn that the details of the rescue could still take weeks or even months to work out, and Obama underlined that the outcome mattered for everyone.
Earlier, during talks with Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas, Obama told reporters that how the euro zone debt crisis plays out will definitely have an impact on the U.S. economy.
"If Europe is weak, if Europe is not growing, as our largest trading partner, that's going to have an impact on our businesses and our ability to create jobs here in the United States," Obama said in the Oval Office.
He said the deal was "an important first step" and countries seemed intent on making progress.
"We've seen the message that they are going to deal with this in a serious way has calmed markets all around the world," Obama said. "The key now is to make sure it is implemented fully and decisively and I have great confidence in the European leadership to make that happen."
Obama reinforced that message in his opinion piece, noting that it was "important for all of us" that the Europeans solve their problems, "including building a credible firewall that prevents the crisis from spreading, strengthening European banks, charting a sustainable path for Greece and tackling the structural issues at the heart of the current crisis."
Washington has spoken out for weeks on the need for decisive action by the Europeans to finally get ahead of a crisis that has defied previous less forceful measures to bring it to heel.