Obama: Eurozone 'must focus on jobs and growth'


President Obama: "All the leaders here today agreed growth and jobs must be our top priority"

US President Barack Obama has said there is an "emerging consensus" that European countries must now focus on jobs and growth.

Speaking after the G8 summit of some of the world's leading economies, he said the US was confident that Europe can meet its challenges.

President Obama said leaders had made good progress on a range of issues.

In addition the eurozone crisis, they discussed Iran, Afghanistan and global energy supply.

The leaders of France, Germany, the US, the UK, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia met at Camp David in the US state of Maryland.

G8 leaders at Camp David (19 May) Obama said the meeting had been a success

In an earlier communique, G8 leaders committed themselves to promoting growth alongside fiscal responsibility and affirmed that they wanted Greece to stay in the eurozone.

The BBC's Paul Adams at Camp David says both that communique and Mr Obama's speech showed the US and French position had won out over Germany and Britain's pro-austerity stance.

Energy worries

Leaders attending the summit addressed a number of issues, including energy security, climate change and the situation in Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea.

There was discussion of a broad release of national oil reserves to steady shaky energy markets when tough new sanctions on Iran's oil exports kick in.

President Obama also announced that they had formed a new alliance to focus on food security with African leaders and the private sector.

The focus, however, remained on the crisis in the eurozone.

Speaking to reporters at the end of the summit, President Obama said: "As all of the leaders here today agree, growth and jobs must be our top priority."

Emphasising that the United States had taken this approach to its own financial crisis, he said he was "confident" that European countries were moving in the right direction.

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Mr Cameron and Mr Obama, outside the eurozone but in mortal peril if it spirals deeper in crisis, are demanding urgent, dramatic and speedy action. ”

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But he acknowledged that the European situation was "more complicated" than America's. Earlier, the G8 leaders said "the right measures are not the same for each of us".

In a statement, the group said it agreed "on the importance of a strong and cohesive eurozone for global stability and recovery, and we affirm our interest in Greece remaining in the eurozone while respecting its commitments".

The global economic recovery was showing signs of progress, they said, but "significant headwinds persist".

For its part, the EU welcomed the G8 communique with its dual emphasis on boosting growth and jobs.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said both growth-boosting measures and efforts to restore public finance were needed.

"Opposing the two is a false debate," said they said in a joint statement.

Leaders will now turn their thoughts to Afghanistan, as President Obama and other heads of government travel to Chicago for a Nato summit on Sunday.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 999.

    Another politician chucking the 'G' word around as is unhelpful as most politicians anywhere have zero knowldge of how to get 'G' - without a credit boom - so poor are their macro-economic skills - all politicains do is go running to bankers and the 1% as just makes their rich friends richer.

    Obama needs to spell out how to get 'G' and not just keep on the socialist wastrel rhetoric band-wagon

  • rate this

    Comment number 995.

    I suppose I should feel lucky that my youngest is too young to know about the global financial crisis, my eldest is a typical teenager who finds it rather boring. Meanwhile, like many people, we all sit in the middle as all the pros and cons of Investment versus Austerity flies too and fro. We need to say enough is enough and demand that the government creates a balanced economy, not just cuts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 962.

    People may not like what I am about to say, but until we have a unified policy on oil and gas pricing throughout the EU, to combat the Petro-dollar exchange systems effect’s we will always be at a major disadvantage economically, plus we must end all EU and European tax havens. No more Monaco, Gibraltar or Switzerland for the rich to run and hide, if that means sanction's then so be it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    Nobody seems to have the magic formula, but stimulating growth presumably requires a massive injection of funds and a consequent massive debt. But the outcome's uncertain so it's actually a huge and risky punt, a bet, the sort of thing 'bankers' are pilloried for. Is that really what we want to do? Wager another £500bn that the last £500bn wasn't wasted?

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    The G8 is probably like any committee meeting, everyone sits round the table, usually looking at their watches, blah blah, everyone nods, they produce a press release and go back home and do their own thing regardless.

    For once it would be really good if these G8 and like meetings produced actual actions with a timetable and they had to implement them. No ifs no buts just get the job done.


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