President Obama and world leaders will kick off four days of high-level meetings Friday that will be dominated by the eurozone crisis and efforts to wind down the war in Afghanistan.
|Do You Like this Article? Then Like Us on Facebook.|
The back-to-back meetings of the Group of Eight and NATO alliance get started with G-8 leaders -- including the newly elected President Francois Hollande of France, Prime Minister Mario Monti of Italy and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of Japan -- huddling at the presidential retreat at Camp David in Maryland where Obama will urge Europe's leaders to increase emphasis on spurring growth and lessen their focus on austerity measures.
Obama and Hollande will sit down for their first face-to-face meeting in the Oval Office on Friday before departing for Camp David. Global markets will be paying close attention to the meeting with Hollande, a socialist who rode into office this week spurning his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy's embrace of austerity efforts, as well as to the larger debate among G-8 leaders on Europe's financial crisis in the midst of fears that Greece will ditch the euro.
"If Europe's unable to manage this, it would have a significant impact on our interests," said Michael Froman, the White House deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, about Europe's financial crisis. "So there's a great deal at stake."
Obama has argued that Europe has had more difficulty in pulling out of its economic malaise than the United States, in part because Europe didn't take stimulus measures to bolster the economy there as his administration did to stem the U.S. financial crisis. But analysts are doubtful that European members will announce any concrete steps at the summit that would alleviate the Obama administration's concerns.
"I do not believe you'll see any stimulus spending, any deficit spending," said Heather Conley, a former State Department official in the George W. Bush administration and Europe analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "But we will see how those arguments play out. Clearly, I think, President Obama will want to send a reaffirming message that better balancing is required for Europe so it can quickly return to economic health."
SOURCE: USA Today