(Reuters) – It was an unprecedented visit designed to spur the euro zone into action. But Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s high-profile trip to Europe left some European officials more dumbstruck than starstruck.
Officials said Geithner was coming to propose how the region might try leveraging its emergency bailout fund — the 440 billion euro European Financial Stability Facility — to better tackle the crisis, much as the United States used leverage to handle the fallout from the subprime collapse.
But however good Geithner’s intentions, the indications were that the meeting did not go as smoothly as he might have hoped.
There was no word on whether voices were raised or what the temperature of the exchanges was, but Austria’s finance minister, for one, was less than warm to Geithner’s message.
“I found it peculiar that even though the Americans have significantly worse fundamental data than the euro zone that they tell us what we should do and when we make a suggestion … that they say no straight away,” Maria Fekter told reporters afterwards, recalling a difference of opinion between Geithner and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on how to reinvigorate the euro zone and tax financial deals.