Alabama Gov. Bob Riley is in Europe this week to meet with an unnamed economic development prospect “that could result in hundreds of new jobs,” his office announced.

Riley will also use the trip to visit with executives of three of Alabama’s existing European-based companies.

“It’s more important than ever to keep working to bring jobs and investment to Alabama,” he said in a statement. “Now is not the time to pull back our recruiting efforts. Now is the time to magnify them so we keep Alabama in the competition for jobs, and we are doing just that.”

Riley also is trying to facilitate talks with creditors on behalf of Jefferson County, which has nearly $3.2 billion of outstanding variable- and auction-rate debt that needs to be restructured. The county also is facing $766.3 million of swap termination fees.

The possibility of the state’s largest county filing what would be the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy has worried other Alabama cities and counties because of its potential impact on their ability to issue debt and lure new business to the state.

In addition to meeting with a new business prospect, Riley will go to Germany to meet with Dieter Zetsche, the chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz, to discuss Vance, Ala., where the Mercedes-Benz plant is manufacturing M-Class, R-Class, and GL-Class vehicles.

Riley also will travel to Spain for meetings with the European aerospace corporation EADS NV, also known as the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., and to meet with BBVA, the Spanish bank that bought Birmingham-based Compass Bancshares in 2007.

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