G8 Summit: World Leaders Seek Action On Eurozone Crisis

PA/The Huffington Post UK  |  Posted: Updated: 19/05/2012 19:37

Eurozone Economy

World leaders have piled on the pressure on the eurozone nations to resolve their problems amid fears the debt crisis in the single currency bloc could damage the entire global economy.

Prime Minister David Cameron, attending the G8 summit at Camp David on Saturday, said the eurozone nations needed to heed calls from around the world for "decisive action" to end the turmoil.

The summit host, President Barack Obama, emphasised the importance of countries being "absolutely committed" to restoring stability and economic growth while repairing their public finances.

Cameron also hinted that he would like to see the European Central Bank follow the Bank of England in printing money to boost flagging demand on the continent.

g8 meeting

The meeting is being hosted by Barack Obama at Camp David

The gathering in the Appalachian Mountains of Maryland left three of the eurozone's key players - Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti - exposed to the full force of international alarm.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and the President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy were also invited to hear the extent of the concern that the effects crisis could spread far beyond the continent.

"The G8 can't instruct the eurozone what to do," Mr Cameron said. "But why meetings like this matter is that eurozone countries can hear from countries outside the eurozone, whose economies are affected: obviously Britain, but also America, Japan, Canada.

"It's very important these messages get across, and I would say there is a growing sense of urgency that action needs to be taken, contingency plans need to be put in place.
"And the strengthening of banks, governments and firewalls and all of those things need to take place very fast."

Opening the main working session of the day, Mr Obama also made clear that the world was looking for a solution amid fears a disorderly Greek exit from the single currency could trigger another global financial collapse.

"All of us are absolutely committed to making sure that growth and stability and fiscal consolidation are part of the overall package that all of us have to pursue in order to achieve the kind of prosperity for our citizens that we are looking for," he said.

Earlier, Mr Cameron and the US President had discussed tactics ahead of the meeting during an early morning session together on the treadmills at the Camp David gym.

European sensitivities mean that any significant step forward is more likely to occur at next week's informal EU summit in Brussels.
Amid the organised jollity of the traditional "family photo" of the gathered leaders, Mr Obama admitted: "We have got a lot more work to do."

However there was a clear determination that the assembled leaders - including the leaders of Canada, Russia and Japan - should be seen to addressing the issue.

Mr Cameron was careful not to point the finger of blame at Mrs Merkel - the eurozone's paymaster whose determination to impose rigid fiscal discipline across the currency bloc is blamed by critics for prolonging the crisis.

He did however indicate that he would like to see the European Central Bank do more by following the Bank of England's "quantitative easing" policy to support flagging demand.

"I think the German Chancellor is absolutely right that every country needs to have in place strong plans for dealing with their deficits," he said.

"But clearly, just as Britain benefits from a strong government with a strong deficit reduction plan and strong banks but also an independent monetary policy giving us low interest rates, helping to push demand in the economy, so the eurozone, I believe, needs that approach as well."

The Prime Minister also revived talk of a possible release of strategic oil reserves - which he and Mr Obama discussed when he visited the White House in March - to ease pressure on fuel prices.

At the opening working dinner on Friday night, the leaders discussed recent events in Syria, Iran, North Korea and Burma, with Mr Cameron briefing the meeting on his recent visit and meeting with the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Tomorrow the international circus moves on to the Nato summit in Chicago where the focus will be on Afghanistan as international forces move towards withdrawal by the end of 2014.

camp david

From the left: French President Francois Hollande, Barack Obama, David Cameron, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Angela Merkel, European Council president Herman van Rompuy, EU Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda

In a statement on Saturday night, the G8 leaders stressed the importance of a "strong and cohesive" eurozone and reaffirmed their interest in Greece remaining a member while honouring its commitments to tackle its deficit.

"We all have an interest in the success of specific measures to strengthen the resilience of the eurozone and growth in Europe," the statement said.

"We support euro area leaders' resolve to address the strains in the eurozone in a credible and timely manner and in a manner that fosters confidence, stability and growth."

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  • US President Barack Obama (L), British P

    US President Barack Obama (L), British Prime Minister David Cameron (2nd L), Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvededv (2nd R) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend a G8 summit plenary session on May 19, 2012 at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US President Barack Obama speaks at a G8

    US President Barack Obama speaks at a G8 summit plenary session on May 18, 2012 at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages)

  • French President Francois Hollande atten

    French President Francois Hollande attends a G8 summit plenary session on May 18, 2012 at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages)

  • World Leaders Attend G8 Summit Hosted By Obama At Camp David

    CAMP DAVID, MD - MAY 19: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (2nd, R) and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (R) attend a bilateral meeting ahead of the first working session during the 2012 G8 Summit at Camp David on May 19, 2012 in Camp David, Maryland. Leaders of eight of the worlds largest economies are meeting over the weekend in an effort to keep the lingering European debt crisis from spinning out of control. (Photo by Guido Bergmann-Pool/Getty Images)

  • Leaders Commence G8 Summit At Camp David

    CAMP DAVID, MD - MAY 19: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama (C) speaks between French President Francois Hollande (L) and British Prime Minister David Cameron (R) at working session one during the 2012 G8 Summit at Camp David May 19, 2012 in Camp David, Maryland. Leaders of eight of the worlds largest economies meet over the weekend in an effort to keep the lingering European debt crisis from spinning out of control. (Photo by Luke Sharrett/ The New York Times-Pool/Getty Images)

  • World Leaders Attend G8 Summit Hosted By Obama At Camp David

    CAMP DAVID, MD - MAY 19: German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for a bilateral meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (not pictured) ahead of the first working session during the 2012 G8 Summit at Camp David on May 19, 2012 in Camp David, Maryland. Leaders of eight of the worlds largest economies are meeting over the weekend in an effort to keep the lingering European debt crisis from spinning out of control. (Photo by Guido Bergmann-Pool/Getty Images)

  • Leaders Commence G8 Summit At Camp David

    CAMP DAVID, MD - MAY 19: (AFP OUT) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (L) glances toward German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) at working session one during the 2012 G8 Summit at Camp David May 19, 2012 in Camp David, Maryland. Leaders of eight of the worlds largest economies meet over the weekend in an effort to keep the lingering European debt crisis from spinning out of control. (Photo by Luke Sharrett/ The New York Times-Pool/Getty Images)

  • US President Barack Obama greets British

    US President Barack Obama greets British Prime Minister David Cameron upon his arrival at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland on May 18, 2012 r isthe G8 summit. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US President Barack Obama greets British

    US President Barack Obama greets British Prime Minister David Cameron upon his arrival at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland on May 18, 2012 r isthe G8 summit. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US President Barack Obama greets German

    US President Barack Obama greets German Chancellor Angela Merkel upon her arrival at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland on May 18, 2012 r the G8 summit. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages)

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