The leaders of France, Germany, Spain and Italy made a bid to save the euro Friday, pledging to push for a $163 billion program to stimulate growth in the depressed European economies.

The four countries made the decision ahead of next week’s European Council meeting in Brussels. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been hesitant to support stimulus proposals that would force German taxpayers to pay for the bailout of Europe’s failing economics, supported the move.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly

The New York Times:

Heavily outnumbered in the Italian capital, Ms. Merkel now also has to contend with an appeal from the International Monetary Fund, which late Thursday said the viability of the currency was being questioned and urged fast movement toward the issuing of joint euro zone debt.

The fund also said it would like euro zone bailout funds to be lent directly to struggling banks – rather than through national governments – and appealed to the European Central Bank to take more aggressive measures to quell volatile financial markets, such as increasing the money supply or resuming the purchase of the bonds of stressed sovereigns such as Spain.

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