UPDATE 1-G20 meeting to focus on Europe economy -Canada finance minister

Wed Feb 4, 2015 12:35pm EST
 
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(Adds Lew quote, Oliver's remark on implementing agreed steps)

OTTAWA Feb 4 (Reuters) - Europe's economic troubles will be a key focus when Group of 20 (G20) finance ministers and central bankers meet in Istanbul next week, Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver said on Wednesday.

"The focus has been, of course, on Europe where the growth is stagnant and where we're in a deflationary period. The (European) central bank has launched a massive quantitative easing program...and so we're hoping that will be part of the solution," Oliver told reporters.

"We're going to be talking about monetary policy, fiscal policy and structural change to try to address that issue, and we'll be discussing some of the other geopolitical concerns that have financial and economic implications."

A conundrum facing the G20 at the Feb. 9-10 meeting is figuring out what kind of joint action is appropriate given the current economic disparity: the United States growing relatively strongly and Europe flagging.

Asked about such joint action, Oliver said a major focus this year will be on implementing the 950 individual action plans that G20 members agreed on last year to try to boost global gross domestic product by 2 percent.

Washington believes the U.S. economy has turned a corner but U.S. officials acknowledge slower growth abroad will be a drag. The Obama administration says foreign policymakers can't rely on U.S. consumers to prop up their economies.

"The rest of the world cannot depend on the United States to be the sole engine of growth," Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told lawmakers on Tuesday. (Reporting by Randall Palmer; Additional reporting by Jason Lange in Washington; Editing by Peter Galloway)