Stimulus Packages Fail To Charm G-20
LIANE HANSEN, Host:
Although the ministers' meeting was declared a success, there are clear differences of approach among the people charged with rescuing the world economy. Eleanor Beardsley sends this report from Horsham.
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ELEANOR BEARDSLEY: Unidentified Man: Now, we're going to have two groups of photographs. The first will be the (unintelligible).
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BEARDSLEY: But behind the scenes, there were tensions over how to handle the crisis. The U.S. advocates bigger stimulus packages and the Europeans, more regulation. But as the summit drew to a close, those differences were papered over, and consensus emphasized. British Finance Minister Alistair Darling hosted the meetings.
ALISTAIR DARLING: There is this commitment, which is absolutely critical, I think, in terms of the message that we're sending out, the 20 largest economies in the world stand ready to do whatever is necessary for as long as it is necessary. And I think that is a major step forward.
BEARDSLEY: While the finance ministers were sequestered in the country, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were pushing tougher rules for tax savings at a press conference in London. Brown said he and Merkel saw eye-to-eye on toughening banking regulations.
GORDON BROWN: We must bring the shadow banking system - and that includes hedge funds - into the regulatory system. The old tax havens and the regulatory havens have no place in this new world.
BEARDSLEY: Merkel said she accepted the need for stimulus packages, but felt Germany had already done enough. What Germans were most worried about, she said, was making sure a crisis never happened again. Many Europeans blame America for the current economic meltdown. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he understood that, but he said the world was working together to come out of the crisis.
TIMOTHY GEITHNER: What you see today is a very strong commitment by the leaders of the world's most important countries to move together to do what is necessary to bring recovery back on track, and at the same time, to begin the very important process of reform of the financial systems so that we never again face a crisis of this magnitude.
BEARDSLEY: Nick Beater(ph) lives in the small neighboring town of Horsham. He was in the pub Saturday night when the summit drew to a close.
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NICK BEATER: President Obama, it's great that he's got elected, but he can't change the world. Gordon Brown can't change the world. And the markets will always dictate. And that's the way it is.
BEARDSLEY: For NPR News, I'm Eleanor Beardsley in Horsham, England.
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