Global economy top priority during G20

TORONTO (CUP) — While the G20 leaders have committed to halving their deficits by 2013, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada will meet this goal as early as next year.

At the summit’s closing press conference on June 27, Harper announced that the G20 countries had agreed to Canada’s agenda for making the global economy stable once again.

“As we strive to build strong, sustainable and balanced economies, that is the issue we have had to tackle head on,” said Harper. “We have arrived at firm targets for advanced economies on debt reduction.”

But fiscal consolidation is not the only answer, the Prime Minister said.

“There will be a continued role for ongoing stimulus in the short term as we develop the framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth.”

In his opening statement to the G20 earlier in the day, Harper emphasized the fragility of the global economy.

“If we fail to take decisive, co-ordinated and balanced actions, a bleak scenario might emerge where millions of people could lose their jobs,” he said. “This is the responsibility we have.”

“The whole world is watching us because the fate of millions of people depends on our actions.”

In addition to cutting deficits in half, G20 countries also promised to stabilize their debt-to-GDP ratio, or have it on a downward trend, by 2016.

The Prime Minister praised the efforts of the U.K., whose recent budget addressed their deficit, the Chinese for allowing flexibility on exchange rates and the U.S. for its new Wall Street reform law, which would impose stricter regulations on the financial sector.

Harper expressed his confidence that every G20 country would be able to fulfill their promise by the deadline despite French president Nicholas Sarkozy’s remarks about the goals being merely a suggestion.