The European Union and other world
regions must work hard this year to return to the path of economic
growth, International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde
said Wednesday, the first day of the World Economic Forum.
"Keeping up the momentum as far as the Euro area is concerned means making sure that what has been built ... will actually be made operational," she told government and business leaders at the annual four-day meeting in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos.
In Washington, the IMF said that the eurozone's economy would remain in recession in 2013, contracting by 0.2 per cent.
Lagarde stressed the need for the EU's planned banking union and a future fiscal union, but also noted that other key economic players like the United States and Japan must reduce national debt, as a way to return to a path of stable growth.
Lagarde cited the austerity measures of Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti as a positive example.
Speaking before Lagarde, Monti said: "I can feel that Italy has gained back confidence and its ability to bounce back."
Growth strategies were also on the mind of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. He called on foreign investors to do more business in his country, towards achieving his target of 5 per cent economic growth per year.
But he also acknowledged that reforms were needed inside Russia.
Responding to experts' views that the country's middle class is seeking greater accountability and transparency in politics, Medvedev said: "We need to engage in systematic and active dialogue with civil society."
The premier was one of around 50 heads of government and 2,500 business leaders who gathered in the resort in the Swiss Alps.
Meanwhile, Axel Weber, head of major Swiss bank UBS warned that banking rules drawn up in the wake of the global crisis would make it harder for lenders to act as long-term investors in emerging markets.
"Who will fund investments in infrastructure and emerging markets?" he asked. "Who's gonna do it?"
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