Obama, eyes on Europe, heading to G-20 summit

2:32 PM, Jun 17, 2012   |    comments
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President Obama heads to Mexico Sunday night for a G-20 summit that will be dominated by the continuing economic and financial crises in Europe.

While no decisions will be made with only five members of the 27-member European Union at the summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, administration officials said Obama will continue to press European leaders to emphasize growth before austerity.

"Euro-area fragility remains the key risk to our recovery and to the global economy," said Lael Brainard, under secretary of the Treasury for international affairs, at a Friday briefing. "The president is deeply engaged in encouraging them to lay out the next steps."

Those include making investments in infrastructure to spur growth, bolstering the sources of borrowing for countries such as Italy and Spain, creating a tighter risk-sharing union among European banks and seeking to keep teetering Greece in the 17-nation euro zone.

That latter goal will be influenced by the results of Sunday's elections in Greece, which is beyond U.S. or even European control.

The two-day Los Cabos summit will be Obama's seventh G-20 forum, dating back to London in April 2009, when the global economy was on the brink of a depression. Administration officials stressed that since then, the U.S. economy and financial system has seen greater improvements than those in other G-20 countries.

Using the somewhat tepid U.S. recovery as a model, deputy national security advisor for international economics Michael Froman said the goal of the G-20 summit -- like the smaller G-8 summit at Camp David last month -- will be to present "a unified message about the importance of growth."


By Richard Wolf, USA TODAY

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