Europe's government-debt crisis, which has dragged on for more than two years, is entering a pivotal week, as leaders across the continent converge to prevent a collapse of the euro and a global financial panic that could result.
Expectations are rising that Friday's summit of leaders of the 27 countries in the European Union will yield a breakthrough. An agreement on tighter integration of the 17 EU countries that use the euro — especially on budget matters — would be seen as a crucial first step. That could trigger further emergency aid from the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund or some combination, analysts say.
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