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G8 leaders commit to 'growth and jobs'

May 19, 2012 at 8:33 PM   |   Comments

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CAMP DAVID, Md., May 19 (UPI) -- The Group of Eight summit of world leaders near Washington ended Saturday with a declaration the leaders will "promote growth and jobs."

Speaking to reporters after the summit at Camp David, Md., U.S. President Barack Obama said he and the leaders of Germany, France, Britain, Japan, Russia, Italy and Canada discussed ways to grow the economy while also stabilizing economic conditions in Europe.

"As all the leaders here today agreed, growth and jobs must be our top priority," Obama said. "A stable, growing European economy is in everybody's best interest, including America's."

The president said economic progress is "threatened once again by the serious situation in the eurozone" but he said "the direction the debate has taken lately should give us confidence."

"There's now an emerging consensus that more must be done to promote growth and job creation right now in the context of these fiscal and structural reforms," Obama said. "That consensus for progress was strengthened at Camp David. Today we agreed that we must take steps to boost confidence and promote growth and demand while getting our fiscal houses in order. We agreed upon the importance of a strong and cohesive eurozone and reaffirmed our interest in Greece staying in the eurozone while respecting its commitments."

The president said European leaders "understand the stakes" -- and the costs if they don't reach a solution to the crisis.

In a declaration issued after the meetings, the G8 leaders said the global economic recovery "shows signs of promise, but significant headwinds persist" and they expressed their commitment to "take all necessary steps to strengthen and reinvigorate our economies and combat financial stresses, recognizing that the right measures are not the same for each of us."

"We agree that all of our governments need to take actions to boost confidence and nurture recovery including reforms to raise productivity, growth and demand within a sustainable, credible and non-inflationary macroeconomic framework," the declaration said. "We commit to fiscal responsibility and, in this context, we support sound and sustainable fiscal consolidation policies that take into account countries' evolving economic conditions and underpin confidence and economic recovery."

Prior to the Camp David summit, the BBC reported Obama and French President Francois Hollande were expected to press Merkel for stimulus measures.

"President Hollande and I agree that this is an issue of extraordinary importance not only to the people of Europe but also to the world economy," Obama said after his bilateral meeting with Hollande, who took office this month.

Hollande said he and Obama shared "the same conviction that Greece must remain in the eurozone."

Elections in Greece have been scheduled for June 17. A caretaker government was sworn in after a failed effort to put together a coalition government.

British Prime Minister David Cameron called for "decisive action from eurozone countries in terms of strengthening eurozone banks, in terms of a strong eurozone firewall and decisive action over Greece. That has to be done."

The world leaders also discussed Iran's nuclear program, the unrest in Syria, North Korea's provocations and Obama's easing sanctions on Myanmar, formerly called Burma.

Before turning his attention to bilateral meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Obama concluded his remarks Saturday by saying he and his counterparts will next focus on NATO and the G20 next month.

Obama is to travel to Chicago following the G8 summit for a summit of NATO member nations.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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