Obama, Brown Push for Unity Ahead of World Summit

US President Barack Obama and Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown are making very public pleas for global cooperation ahead of a major economic summit.


US President Barack Obama and Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown are making very public pleas for global cooperation ahead of a major economic summit.

Obama called on Group of 20 (G20) industrialized countries to take "bold, comprehensive and coordinated action" when they meet in London in early April.

"We are living through a time of global economic challenges that cannot be met by half measures or the isolated efforts of any nation," Obama wrote in an opinion article published in more than two dozen leading global newspapers on Tuesday, March 24.

Obama's media outreach was matched by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who will host the upcoming G20 meeting. Brown embarked on a world tour to try and drum up international support for economic stimulus measures and reforms.
Europe wary on stimulus

European governments, particularly France and Germany, have been cool to Obama's calls for additional stimulus measures. At last week's EU summit in Brussels, leaders of the 27-member bloc rejected recent US calls to extend the size of their 400-billion-euro ($544-billion) stimulus package.

Instead, many European leaders want to see tougher regulation of financial institutions.

"(We need) coordination at all levels, no loopholes, no black holes," French Economics Minister Christine Lagarde told a financial conference in Prague Tuesday in a taped video message.
US will outline reform plans this week

Obama agreed that more regulation is needed.

"If we continue to let financial institutions around the world act recklessly and irresponsibly, we will remain trapped in a cycle of bubble and bust," Obama wrote in his newspaper piece.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is expected to unveil the government's plans for regulatory reform on Thursday, the White House said. Geithner said he supports far-reaching regulatory reform.

"All institutions and markets that could pose systemic risk will be subject to strong oversight, including appropriate constraints on risk taking," Geithner recently told a Congressional committee.

Obama's media outreach came one day after Geithner announced a public-private plan that will take over $1 trillion in so-called toxic bank assets.
Gordon seeks international consensus

Britain's Brown is taking his message that both stimulus and regulatory measures are necessary on a world tour.

Brown called for more regulation of the financial markets and more coordinated stimulus of world economies in a speech before the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday.

"Regulatory standards should be set across Europe and the world," he said. "Worldwide fiscal and monetary stimulus to the economy can be twice as effective in every country if it is adopted by all countries."

Europe and American need to work more closely, Brown added, noting that he spoke with Obama about the need for cooperation.

"Never in recent years have we had an American leadership so keen on working closely with Europe."

Brown will fly to New York for a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and then to Latin America for talks in Brazil and Chile.

Deutsche Welle