Showing a united front, G20 finance ministers have vowed to take “whatever action is necessary” to tackle the global economic slowdown.
Britain’s Alistair Darling voiced the pledge and played down reports of divisions between the US and Europe on what that action should be. A taster for April’s G20 summit, also being held in Britain, the gathering ended without formally backing US calls for governments to spend more “You are seeing the world move together at a speed and on a scale without precedent in modern times,” US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told reporters. “All the major economies are putting in place substantial fiscal packages. The stronger the response, the quicker the recovery will come.” But, amid concerns over the level of public debt, countries led by France and Germany want to put the focus elsewhere. German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück said: “It makes no sense to pump more and more money in our economy whenever we have not restored the confidence on the financial markets.” As they prepared for the upcoming summit, ministers agreed on a series of measures including increasing funding to the IMF. But, reaching full consensus on the best way out of the worst downturn since the 1930s, still looks like posing a major challenge to G20 leaders next month.