Monday 18 December 2017

Obama calls for 'growth' to tackle euro crisis

Caren Bohan

US president also wants G8 to focus on budget cuts in Europe

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama last night backed calls for a "growth strategy" to help end the debt crisis following a meeting with the French President Francois Hollande.

The US President said a meeting of the leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) largest economies should focus on ways to promote growth, alongside budget cuts in Europe to ease the euro crisis.

"President Hollande and I agreed that this is an issue of extraordinary importance, not only to the people of Europe, but also to the world economy," Mr Obama told reporters.

He was speaking ahead of a scheduled meeting of the G8 that got under way in the US capital last night.

It was the latest sign that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other eurozone leaders will come under pressure from their G8 counterparts this weekend to come up with a formula to finally check the three-year-old debt crisis.

Global leaders are increasingly alarmed at a threat to the world economy after almost $4 trillion (€3.1 trillion) was wiped from global equity markets this month.

The value of the world's businesses is tumbling amid speculation that Greece will exit the euro with impossible-to-predict economic consequences.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the "damaging" situation in Europe is top of the agenda for the event.

"We're looking forward to a fruitful discussion later this evening and tomorrow with the other G8 leaders about how we can manage a responsible approach to fiscal consolidation that is coupled with a strong growth agenda," he said.

The European delegation to the G8 -- Angela Merkel, Mr Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and UK Prime Minister David Cameron, plus EU leaders Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Barroso -- yesterday held a joint video call and agreed that fiscal rigour and economic growth were mutually compatible.

Yesterday, Mr Cameron called for more to be done "to persuade eurozone countries to take really decisive action" to solve the problems rather than "kicking the can down the road."

In addition to the euro crisis, the agenda for G8 summit includes proposals to tap emergency oil reserves to offset diminishing exports from sanctions-hit Iran. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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