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German official pessimistic over crisis summit

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner briefs the media during a news conference with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble after a meeting at the finance ministry in Berlin, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011. US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner briefs the media during a news conference with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble after a meeting at the finance ministry in Berlin, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
By Juergen Baetz
Associated Press / December 7, 2011
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BERLIN—A German official has sought to dampen down expectations for a summit on the European debt crisis this week, saying he is pessimistic about the chances of a far-reaching deal.

The official told reporters Wednesday that "we have the impression that a number of actors have not yet understood the seriousness of the situation."

The official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the Thursday-Friday summit, says Germany insists on either a substantial treaty change among the 27 countries, or a new treaty for the 17 euro countries and any other country that wants to join.

He also came out against a push by EU President Herman Van Rompuy to avoid a treaty change in the short-term and instead try to enforce more fiscal discipline within the existing treaty.

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