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Ahead of G20 summit, Bush defends the free market

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 Ahead of G20 summit, Bush defends the free market
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As he prepares to welcome world leaders for talks on the financial crisis, George W. Bush has strongly defended the free market system.

Speaking on Wall Street, the outgoing US President acknowledged some reforms were needed. But he maintained free-market principles had delivered prosperity and hope.

“It is true this crisis includes failures by lenders and borrowers and by financial firms and by governments and independent regulators,” Bush said. “But the financial crisis was not a failure of the free market system.”

Bush also warned that the turmoil would not be resolved overnight.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the worst financial crisis in 80 years has claimed another victim. Germany, Europe’s largest economy, has gone into recession for the first time in five years.

Nonetheless, at a Christmas market in Berlin, some believe the impact on seasonal spending will be limited.

“This year there will be no effects but next year it will be bad,” said one trader, arguing that many people have not yet felt the full extent of the downturn.

But recession worries are spreading across Europe. And, as the festive season approaches, a survey in the UK suggests Britons will be tightening their belts when it comes to Christmas shopping.