G20 Turns Attention to World Economy, Amid Greek Turmoil

Posted November 4th, 2011 at 12:35 am (UTC-5)
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World leaders at the second and final day of the G20 economic summit in France plan to focus on the stabilization of the global economy, following a day largely dominated by internal Greek political wrangling that threatened to plunge the eurozone into economic disaster.

Leaders of the world's biggest economies are expected on Friday to consider boosting domestic consumption and increasing the resources of the International Monetary Fund – both steps meant to soften the global impact of the European debt crisis.

The summit had been expected to focus on calming global markets and implementing stronger financial regulations, but Thursday's talks were largely overshadowed by Greece's hesitancy to abide by the terms of a financial rescue package agreed to last week by the European Union.

Late Thursday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy again urged Greece to accept the deal, which requires Greece to make budget cuts that are hugely unpopular with the Greek electorate.

Earlier this week, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou caused global financial panic by announcing a nation-wide vote on the bailout plan. But on Thursday, Mr. Papandreou scrapped the referendum after Greek opposition parties finally agreed to back the rescue package.

President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have warned that Greece will not receive “one more cent” of the next $11 billion disbursement of its rescue loan scheduled for December 4 unless it implements the austerity measures.

Without the funds, Greece risks a catastrophic debt default within weeks, putting at risk its membership in the 17-member bloc of nations that use the common European currency.

The bailout agreement reached last week would provide Greece with an additional $140 billion in rescue loans. It also includes a 50 percent write-off on Greek debt to private European banks.