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Obama: 'Emerging Consensus' On Eurozone

May 20, 2012

U.S. President Barack Obama says there's an "emerging consensus" that more must be done to promote jobs growth in Europe as the continent faces its debt crisis.

Obama spoke to reporters at the end of a G-8 meeting at Camp David outside Washington.

"All of the leaders here agreed that growth and jobs must be our top priority. A stable growing European economy is in everyone's interest, including America's. Europe is our largest economic partner. Put simply, if a company is forced to cut back in Paris or Madrid, that might mean less business for manufacturers in Pittsburgh or Milwaukee," the U.S. leader said.

Obama said Europe had much work to do, but Washington remained confident that Europe has the capacity to meet its economic challenges.

"Europe's situation, of course, is more complicated. They have got a political and economic crisis facing Greece; slow growth and very high unemployment in several countries. And, what is more, when they decide on a way to move forward there are 17 countries in the European Union that need to come to an agreement. We recognize that and respect that. But, the direction the debate has taken recently in Europe should give us confidence," Obama said.

Obama said his fellow G8 leaders from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and Canada recognized the painful sacrifices that people in Greece were enduring as a result of that country's economic pressures.

"We agreed upon the importance of a strong and cohesive euro zone and affirmed our interest in Greece staying in the euro zone, while respecting its commitments. Of course we also recognize the painful sacrifices that the Greek people are making at this difficult time," Obama said.

The U.S. president said the world leaders made progress on a number of international issues, including Iran, Syria and North Korea.

The G8 leaders also signaled their willingness to tap into national oil reserves to address any disruption in the world markets when tough new sanctions kick in on Iran's oil exports.

Based on AP and Reuters reporting


Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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