The European Union will not put up with
lectures on how it should handle its economic crisis, the
commission's president said Monday at a Group of 20 (G20) summit in
Mexico at which the bloc's woes are taking centre stage.
"We are extremely open and we are engaging with our partners, but we certainly are not coming here to receive lessons from nobody," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso vehemently told reporters in Los Cabos, Mexico, before meeting with G20 leaders.
Leaders gathering Monday for the Group of 20 summit have European instability concerns at the front of their minds as the crisis there continues to weigh on the global economy.
"Obviously we are going to be very busy over the next day and a half," US President Barack Obama said during a bilateral meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon ahead of the summit of major and emerging economies. "The world is very concerned about the slowing of growth that has taken place."
"Now is a time as we've discussed to make sure that all of us do what's necessary to stabilize the world financial system, to avoid protectionism," he said.
The Greek election Sunday had cast a shadow over the summit, but despite the victory of the pro-bailout conservative New Democracy party, problems still loom in Athens, the broader eurozone and in world markets.
G20 leaders will face pressure from the United States and France for more government efforts to encourage growth, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel continues to focus on austerity measures.
All the world's biggest economies must do their part in boosting the flagging global economy, Merkel said Monday.
"Everyone here at the world economic conference still has to do their homework," she said.
European leaders at the summit would present a united front, the chancellor said. They would make it clear that problems within the eurozone and growth problems in the European Union as a whole would be addressed decisively, and that a growth pact would be agreed to, Merkel added.
Barosso argued that Europe is not responsible for the world's financial woes.
"The challenges are not all European. They are global," he said, pointing out that the international economic problems started with a financial crisis in the United States four years ago.
EU President Herman Van Rompuy agreed, noting that other countries have "huge external imbalances" to correct. "This crisis in the eurozone will take time to solve, there are no quick fixes, no silver bullets, but we will do all it takes to see it through," he added.
However, G20 members who fear the spread of contagion in Europe will continue to push European leaders.
"The world is in deep trouble," Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said upon arrival in Mexico. "I hope the G20 will come up with constructive proposals to get the world out of this crisis."
The Mexican presidency of the G20 has set economic stabilization, financial system strengthening, international financial architecture reform, food security and green growth as its top priorities.
Ahead of the summit, Obama was holding his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin since Putin returned to that office earlier this year.
Global flashpoint Syria will be among the issues the two presidents discuss as Moscow has drawn widespread international condemnation for its role in selling weapons to Damascus. Russia, along with China, has so far blocked stronger international action against the regime in the UN Security Council.
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