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EU chief confirms 'decisive' euro summit Wednesday

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(BRUSSELS) - Eurozone heads of state will gather in Brussels on Wednesday, the European Union's president confirmed, with the aim of taking key decisions to save the euro amid a crippling debt crisis.

An initial summit on Sunday, previously seen as the talks that would deliver a "comprehensive" eurozone plan, is now "the first of a two-step process" that will culminate in "decision making" on Wednesday, said Herman Van Rompuy.

"In the coming days further intensive work will be conducted to prepare the foreseen agenda technically and politically," added van Rompuy in a statement late Friday.

The leaders of France and Germany had already said that decisions would not emerge on Sunday amid persistent differences between the pair, mainly over how best to deploy the EU's 440-billion-euro ($610 billion) bailout fund.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, the key player in the talks, is also hamstrung by German parliamentary procedure, with the budgetary committee in the Bundestag lower house insisting on seeing the framework of a deal before she can bring it to Brussels.

A meeting of eurozone finance ministers Friday kicked off a marathon series of gatherings to prepare the ground.

The ministers will be joined by their EU counterparts from outside the 17-nation zone on Saturday before a meeting between Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy that same evening.

On Sunday, the leaders of all 27 EU countries will hold talks in the morning, before the eurozone heads of state and government tackle their differences on Sunday afternoon.

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