European crisis top G20 agenda

Europe’s debt woes are set to dominate talks as
finance mandarins from the newly powerful G-20 group of rich and developing
nations meet this week to push ahead with reforms of the global economy.

The
continent’s sovereign debt crisis has seemed like an echo of 2008 when a
banking system breakdown in the United States pushed the world into its most
serious economic crisis in eight decades and raised fears of another Great
Depression.

World
markets have tanked amid uncertainty over Europe’s government finances. The Dow Jones
industrial average declined 7.9 per cent in May and has further extended losses
in June while the euro has sharply weakened amid fears for the single currency’s
viability.

South
Korea, which assumed the rotating Group of 20 chairs this year, is hosting the
meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in the southern port
city of Busan on Friday and Saturday.

The
G-20 is working on policy recommendations aimed at achieving what it calls
“strong, sustainable and balanced growth” to hand to leaders at a
pair of summits scheduled for this year — one in Canada later this month and another in
Seoul in November.

The
forum has been trying to come up with a new financial architecture to manage
the global economy in the wake of the 2008 crisis. Proposals include a bank
tax, setting new capital standards and establishing “financial safety
nets” to help bolster countries such as host South Korea, which have been
vulnerable to the whims of traders who can send billions of dollars across borders
at the press of a button.

BUZEuropeancrisisSTORY

G20 finance ministers will soon be discussing Europe’s debt crisis and other issues this week.
Photo: File

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