G-8 Prepares to Take on Europe’s Debt Crisis

Posted May 19th, 2012 at 6:40 am (UTC-5)
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Leaders of the largest industrialized countries will focus on Europe's economic turmoil when they resume talks Saturday at their annual economic summit.

U.S. President Barack Obama will press Group of Eight leaders to consider a growth agenda as they discuss ways to tackle the mounting debt that has threatened the stability of the euro zone.

The economic woes involving the 17-nation single currency could impact other nations, including the United States.

The G-8 leaders are expected to focus on debt-ridden Greece, which could abandon the euro to escape austerity measures.

At a Friday news conference, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said it is important for Greece and other euro zone members to respect commitments.

“I would like to reaffirm very clearly that we want Greece to stay in the euro area. Greece is part of the European family, and part of the euro project, and the European Union, I am sure will do all it takes to ensure it.”

The summit participants, who have gathered at the Camp David presidential retreat near Washington, discussed global security during dinner on Friday.

Officials say they agreed to keep pressure on Iran to disclose more about its nuclear program, and on the need to focus on a political transition in Syria.

The officials say G-8 leaders also discussed concerns that North Korea may launch a new nuclear test.

The Camp David summit is part of four days of diplomacy for President Obama who departs, late Saturday, to a NATO summit in Chicago. NATO officials will focus on the war in Afghanistan.

Before the G-8 session got underway, the president welcomed new French President Francois Hollande to the White House for their first one-on-one meeting. Mr. Hollande was sworn in this week.

Mr. Hollande will also play a central role in the NATO summit. The new French president has pledged to remove all his country's troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year — two years before all NATO troops are scheduled to leave.