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Centre-left leaders pledge 'concrete' action at G20 summit

Latest update : 2009-03-29

Speaking from the first Progressive Governance Conference this weekend in Chile, US Vice President Joe Biden asked protesters to give governments a chance to make "concrete proposals" at the G20 summit next week.

AFP - US Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday called for tens of thousands of protesters already on the streets of Europe ahead of a G20 summit next week to give governments a chance to tackle the economic crisis.
"I would hope that the protesters give us a chance, listen to what we have to say and hopefully we can make it clear to them that we're going to walk away from this G20 meeting with some concrete proposals," Biden said at a news conference after a meeting of center-left politicians in Chile.


"The major lesson from the Great Depression (after 1929) in our view is that forbearance is not an option," Biden told center-left leaders, including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, at a conference at a Chilean beach resort.
"We are aggressively protecting our domestic policy agenda but thinking globally as well," Biden said, refering to a massive 787-billion-dollar economic stimulus plan that US President Barack Obama signed into law earlier this month.
Biden spoke amid reports that several nations like France and Germany were balking at US calls to tackle the crisis with more fiscal stimulus instead of regulation, ahead of a key G20 summit next week in London.
IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn said on Friday that more government stimulus plans may be needed in 2010 to boost the world economy.
"I hope this does not come as prescriptive," Biden added. "We do believe that this is what is necessary to get the engine going again in the States."
"The very good news is that we are willing to and want to collaborate. The bad news is that you don't have the last administration to use as an excuse ... for non-action."
Summit host and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet called for the coordination of fiscal stimulus plans across different countries.
Other center-left leaders, including Brown, insisted on global unity and reform of international lending institutions and warned against protectionism, as the two-day Progressive Governance conference in Vina del Mar drew toward an end.
"We cannot succeed unless we build the global institutions for the future," said Brown, who will host world leaders from the Group of 20 industrialized and developing economies for a crucial summit on the economic crisis on April 2.
During a meeting in Brazil on Thursday, Brown and Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva proposed to create a 100-billion-dollar global fund to boost trade.
Lula, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg also attended the Chile meeting.
"Now it's really developing into an employment crisis," said Stoltenberg, after Norway announced it was ready to contribute as much as 4.5 billion dollars to funding for the International Monetary Fund to help boost lending.
The conference was organized by Policy Network, an international think tank initiated 10 years ago by former US president Bill Clinton, with past meetings in Washington, Berlin, Stockholm, London, Budapest and Johannesburg.
Biden was due to take part in an official visit to Chile late Saturday before traveling to Costa Rica.
During his first Latin America trip, the US vice president sounded out regional leaders ahead of the Summit of the Americas next month in Trinidad and Tobago, which will be US President Barack Obama's first major regional summit.

Date created : 2009-03-29