G20 Leaders Pledge to Spur Economic Growth, Address Unemployment

Posted November 4th, 2011 at 4:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Leaders of the world's 20 leading economies have pledged to reinvigorate global economic growth and to address rising unemployment worldwide.

After a two-day summit in Cannes, France, the G20 leaders also promised to promote social inclusion and make globalization serve the needs of the people.

Greece's hesitancy to abide by the terms of its financial rescue package dominated the two-day summit and the G20 leaders urged European Union leaders to prevent Italy from following Greece into a debt crisis.

In a joint communique, they hailed eurozone's comprehensive plan to restore its financial stability, but failed to offer contributions for an emergency assistance fund.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who hosted the summit, said Europe's key economies, France and Germany, are determined to defend Europe's unity and its common currency the Euro.

He reiterated that Greece would be dropped out of the eurozone if it backs out of the bailout agreement, which includes tough austerity measures. Mr. Sarkozy also said that the European Union will try to impose a tax on financial transactions next year to help poorer nations.

U.S. President Barack Obama said the world's leaders have made important progress in stabilizing the global economy, but that more hard work is needed to solve the European debt problems.

He praised China for agreeing at the summit to take additional steps to boost its own domestic economy, in an effort to trim its large foreign trade surpluses, which have resulted in a huge trade deficit with the U.S.

During the summit, the G20 leaders said that the resources of the International Monetary Fund need to be increased to help curb the European debt crisis, but they failed to agree how to do that. The shape of any additional aid for the IMF remained uncertain at a time when some of the world's largest economies, such as the U.S. and China, are facing their own economic difficulties.

European banks plan to forgive $140 billion in Greek debt in exchange for the Athens government's agreement to adopt years of austerity measures that are hugely unpopular in Greece.

On Monday, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou had caused global financial panic by announcing a nationwide vote on the bailout plan. He dropped his referendum plan after the opposition agreed to back the bailout agreement. But Mr. Papandreou was facing a confidence vote in parliament late Friday .

Under pressure from the U.S. and emerging economies, Italy agreed that the IMF would monitor implementation of its austerity measures aimed at keeping it from needing a bailout. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is also under pressure to step down.