News Column

Obama To Contrast U.S., Eurozone Economies

May 18, 2012
Obama To Contrast U.S., Eurozone Economies

President Obama will contrast the stimulus-aided U.S. recovery to Europe's austerity-fed malaise when urging euro leaders to buoy their economies, an aide said.

"The president has long made clear ... that he believes that an approach that takes into account the need for further growth and job creation -- a balanced approach that includes not just austerity but growth and job creation -- is the right approach," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters ahead of a two-day summit of the Group of Eight industrialized nations beginning Friday night.

"When we discuss this with our European allies, we can point to some of our own experiences," he said.

"The last several years of positive GDP growth here in the United States -- the last 26 months of positive private-sector job creation -- point to the efficacy of taking measures that help stimulate growth and create jobs," Carney said.

"That's the approach the president has taken. That's, I think, the view that he'll take into his meetings this weekend," Carney said.

The G8 gathering at Camp David, Md. -- to be followed immediately by a NATO summit in Chicago Sunday and Monday -- was scheduled to cover an array of topics, including food security in Africa, but given the escalating crises in Greece, Spain, Italy and other teetering economies, the future of the eurozone is widely expected to dominate the talks, aides said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron was expected to join other leaders in pressing German Chancellor Angela Merkel to authorize German financial intervention to shore up weak eurozone economies, the British newspaper The Independent reported Friday.

Cameron said Thursday hopes of saving the eurozone lay in large part with Germany, whose giant economy is still strong, because he said successful economies have a responsibility to shore up weaker ones.

Obama and the leaders of from Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia were to begin gathering at Camp David in the early evening.

Vladimir Putin, in his new role as Russian president, canceled his trip, instead sending Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

In the 38 G8 summits, Putin is the first leader of a core member nation to choose willingly not to attend.

Representatives of the European Union, United Nations, International Atomic Energy Agency, World Bank and World Trade Organization and other organizations were invited to observe and participate in some activities, as were representatives of five of large emerging economies -- Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

The leaders of Ghana, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Benin were invited for a discussion about food security, the White House said Thursday. Beninese President Yayi Boni is chairman of the African Union.

Obama planned to greet the G8 leaders at 7:30 p.m. EDT, host a welcome reception at 7:50 p.m. and host a working dinner at 8 p.m., where they would discuss a handful of security issues, including talks with Iran next week in Baghdad and international concerns over North Korea and Syria, the White House said.

Nine hours before the working dinner, Obama was to meet with new French President Francois Hollande at the White House.

The 11 a.m. meeting was expected to include a discussion of France's contribution to Afghanistan, since Hollande campaigned on a promise to remove French troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2012, Obama National Security Adviser Tom Donilon told reporters.

The United States and most other foreign countries said their troops would exit Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

"You can make all kinds of contributions," Donilon said. "You can make combat troop contributions. You can make train-and-assist kinds of contributions. You can make other kinds of contributions. And we'll have a discussion with the French about where they want to go on this."

Obama and his G8 counterparts were expected to discuss global oil markets, specifically in light of economic sanctions against Iran, Donilon said.

He declined to say whether they would discuss releasing the emergency fuel storage of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Texas and Louisiana.

"I don't want to say anything specific about what options might be discussed and not discussed," he said after explaining the leaders would "discuss the range of options that they might have before them."

Source: Copyright United Press International 2012

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