World Leaders at U.S. Meeting Urge Growth, Not Austerity
Leaders of the world’s richest countries banded together on Saturday to press Germany to back more pro-growth policies to halt the deepening debt crisis in Europe, as President Obama for the first time gained widespread support for his argument that Europe, and the United States by extension, cannot afford Chancellor Angela Merkel’s one-size-fits-all approach emphasizing austerity.
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Pointedly recognizing “that the right measures are not the same for each of us,” the leaders of the Group of 8 nations, at a meeting hosted by Mr. Obama at Camp David, committed to “take all necessary steps” to strengthen their economies. They said they wanted to keep Greece in the euro zone and vowed to work to promote growth in Europe, though they did not detail how they would do so.
“Our imperative,” the leaders said in their statement, “is to promote growth and jobs.”
It is by no means the final word in the growth-versus-austerity fight that has been under way for two years. Even with the future of the European currency union in doubt, Germany has insisted that Europe’s ailing economies tackle their financial problems through spending cuts, a policy that critics say has caused higher unemployment, brought Greece to the edge of bankruptcy and worsened the crises in Spain and Italy.