EU president delays next week's leaders summit to allow more time to finalize plan to deal with European debt crisis

BRUSSELS , October 10, 2011 () – The president of the European Union said Monday he is delaying next week's summit of EU leaders until Oct. 23 because they need more time to finalize a plan to fight a worsening debt crisis.

The EU summit was originally planned for next Monday and Tuesday.

The new timing will allow the bloc "to finalize our comprehensive strategy on the euro area sovereign debt crisis," Herman Van Rompuy said in a statement.

Leaders need more time to conclude discussions on financial aid to Greece, the recapitalization of banks and giving the eurozone bailout fund more firepower, Van Rompuy said.

The 27-country EU, and in particular the 17-country eurozone, have found themselves under growing market pressure, as fears intensified that Greece and other highly indebted countries will default on their debts and take down big banks that hold their bonds.

Van Rompuy said he had also asked for an additional meeting of EU finance ministers ahead of the summit, so they can lay the groundwork for the leaders' decision.

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