Finance minister from the G7 industrialised nations are meeting in Rome to discuss the global economic crisis. The G7, whose economies are all in or nearing recession, are under pressure to prove they can work together and avoid resorting to protectionism – a move Germany has warned could plunge the world back into the dark days of the 1930s crisis.
Fresh figures served as a reminder of the scale of the economic downturn and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund, said the worst was probably still to come. Giorgio Di Giorgi, Economics Professor at the Luiss Guido Carli University, said: “The world’s problems need to be solved not at the G7 or at the G8 level but maybe by more ambitious programmes that take into account also the important new role of the large emerging countries.” The summit coincided with demonstrations in the Italian capital, as tens of thousands marched through the streets to protest against the government’s handling of the crisis: “What has been missing is a joint political strategy,” said one union leader. “Otherwise the risk of protectionism and trade wars will grow and eventually, it will fall on the workers again.” “You can’t relaunch the economy because economy means consumerism and if people can’t even make it to the end of the month, if people are losing their jobs – how can you hope to relaunch the economy? It is a huge swindle,” said a protestor. The two-day meeting is widely seen as a staging-post session ahead of an April summit of the G20 countries in London.