G8 Summit: President Obama Emphasizes Growth Over Austerity

US President Barack Obama says the euro zone crisis is threatening the world economy, but welcomes Europe’s new focus on jobs and growth as a potential remedy.

President Obama participates in the G8 Summit family photo at Camp David, Md. Photo: Chuck Kennedy/The White House

President Barack Obama, wrapping up the G8 summit hosted at Camp David, and leaders of other world powers on Saturday declared that their governments must both spark growth and cut the debt that has crippled the European continent and put investors worldwide on edge, writes The Huff Post.

“There’s now an emerging consensus that more must be done to promote growth and job creation right now,” Barack Obama proclaimed after hosting economic talks at Camp David, his secluded and highly secure mountaintop retreat.

“As all the leaders here today agreed, growth and jobs must be our top priority. A stable, growing European economy is in everybody’s best interests, including America’s,” he said.

“Put simply, if a company is forced to cut back in Paris and Madrid, that might mean less business for manufacturers in Pittsburgh or Milwaukee,” the U.S. president added.

While seeking a second term amid hard economic times, President Obama hailed a debate heading in the direction he likes, with nations now talking of ways to spark their economies instead of just slashing spending.

According to The Telegraph, Obama said his fellow G8 leaders from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and Canada recognised the painful sacrifices that people in Greece were enduring as a result of that country’s economic pressures.

Much of U.S. president’s rethoric seemed aimed at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who came to the summit as the European leader who had demanded austerity as the most important step toward easing the eurozone’s debt crisis.

However, the election of Socialist Francois Hollande as president of France, and Greek elections that created political chaos in the country were clear rejections of the belt-tightening Merkel represented.

In a joint summit statement the leaders of G8 countries reflected how urgently the countries must contain a financial crisis that could spread from the eurozone to the United States and infect the rest of the global economy.

They expressed unanimity in ensuring that Greece, which is crippled in debt and politically gridlocked, remains as part of the 17-member euro currency union.

“The leaders here understand the stakes,” Obama said in summing up the talks. “They know the magnitude of the choices they have to make and the enormous political and economic and social costs if they don’t.”

“The global economic recovery shows signs of promise, but significant headwinds persist,” G-8 leaders said.

Barack Obama used the opportunity to cast the debate in terms favorable to his own re-election, closing the summit with mentioning the steps he took to right the U.S. economy and his economic vision for a second term. Obama said he was confident Europe could get on a path to recovery as has the United States.

“We know it is possible in part based on our own experience here,” he said. “In my earliest days in office, we took decisive steps to confront our own financial crisis.”

The talks of G8 leaders came before Obama was to lead a much larger NATO summit in Chicago on Sunday and Monday that will be heavily focused on the Afghanistan war.

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