U.S.: G8 reaches broad consensus on growth vs. deficit
By Alister Bull and Patricia Zengerle
HUNTSVILLE, Ontario (Reuters) - Group of Eight leaders have agreed on the need to stay focused on immediate growth goals while tackling public finances "going forward," a senior U.S. official said on Friday.
"There is a broad consensus among the G8 leaders, a convergence of views, if you will, as they head into the G20, about how to maintain durable growth while also reaffirming, of course, the common shared commitments to fiscal consolidation going forward," the administration official told reporters.
The official, briefing reporters on the sidelines of the G8 summit at a wooded lakeside resort north of Toronto, spoke on condition of anonymity.
U.S. President Barack Obama has called on his partners in the broader G20, which includes advanced economies and emerging economic powerhouses like China and India, to keep focused on growth to ensure a self-sustaining recovery.
That pits the United States against some major countries in Europe, where a debt crisis sparked by Greece has prompted a drive for austerity in public finances that Washington fears is premature.
"The president reiterated his strong belief that we need to maintain durable growth in the global economy. ... (Obama) underscored that a part of a growth strategy includes fiscal consolidation and deficit reduction, particularly in the medium term," the official added.
The G8, which groups the United States, Germany, Japan, Russia, France, Britain, Canada, and Italy, is a chance for Western powers to gather around a common position before entering the broader and less manageable G20, which has supplanted it as the prime body to steer the world economy.
Obama's own goal of having U.S. fiscal policy keep pumping up jobs and growth has been thwarted by the U.S. Senate, which has declined to pass additional measures to maintain aid to cash-strapped states and the long-term unemployed. Continued...