G20: British PM Brown Hopeful

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With the April 2nd G20 summit rapidly approaching, there are concerns about what can really be achieved arising from what many are calling a rift between some of the nations set to be in attendance. When the summit begins on Thursday, the group of 20 (G20) developed and developing economies are hoping to tackle the financial crisis, which the media as dubbed the worst since the 1930’s. Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of Britain, is maintaining a positive outlook on the talks and remains certain a solution can be reached, he said today.

Following discussions with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Brown told reporters that in order to increase efficacy, he would do “a lot of work in the next two days getting countries to agree to proposals that we have been working on for some time,”. Global cooperation is doubtlessly important in the endeavour, and preliminary guidelines for the agenda highlight the importance of overall global economic health, and no country’s plans should be to the detriment of another.

There were recently a series of protests in Europe, and more are suspected for duration of the conference this week; in preparation for this, security measures in London are heightened, and according to police, five suspected protesters are currently being held under counter-terrorism laws, following the discovery of weapons nearby.

British finance minister Alistair Darling has attempted to ground expectations for the summit, citing the magnitude of the crisis and the reality that such problems cannot be remedied overnight; in spite of official reservations, however, Brown is confident in the world’s ability to contribute the effort needed: “We are hopeful of getting a conclusion but a lot of great work has got to be done.” There is no illusion that the G20 summit will be anything other than the first step in a long process — subsequently, finance ministers worldwide are insisted on a further convening of G20 leaders before the end of the year.

Some of the plans to be discussed at the summit have been discussed since the meeting was first proposed, such as a call by Brown to increase the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) lending capacity by at least 100%, to $500 billion. One of the key mandates for the committee is to “enable the global economy to expand”, which will include preventing policies of protectionism finding their way into the recovery; according to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, countering protectionism and the restoration of credit are two of the biggest issues facing G20 leaders.

Future fiscal stimulus has been criticized and warned against by da Silva, in addition to many European leaders, concerned that without proper infrastructural amendments and stricter regulations another crumbling of the financial markets is inevitable. A consensus is hoped to be reached before Thursday, and Brown has made many international visits in an effort to foster communication between all nations involved.

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