Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Friday, 3 April 2009 12:57 UK

G20 summit: Press reaction

G20 leaders at start of summit

The world's press has given a largely positive reaction to the G20 summit's efforts to tackle the global financial crisis.

But some newspapers express fears that the G20's measures do not go far enough, while others question whether the pledges made in London will benefit developing countries.

North America

"A Rare Triumph of Substance" the Washington Post declared in its headline of an article by Steven Pearlstein, who said that by the standards of past summits, this one was full of accomplishment.

He described the outcome as "an easy win for all concerned", allowing France and Germany to "declare victory over unfettered Anglo-American capitalism", while giving President Obama "political ammunition" in his bid to tighten regulations on financial institutions.

"All in all, a pretty successful opening-night performance for President Obama on the international economic stage," he concluded.

$500bn for the IMF to lend to struggling economies
$250bn to boost world trade
$250bn for a new IMF "overdraft facility" countries can draw on
$100bn that international development banks can lend to poorest countries
IMF will raise $6bn from selling gold reserves to increase lending for the poorest countries
Source: BBC

The New York Times was less glowing in its assessment, saying the G20 leaders "fell short" in meeting their responsibility to create concrete policies to fix the global economy.

"Where they fell dangerously short was their refusal to commit to spend the hundreds of billions of dollars in additional fiscal stimulus that the world economy needs to pull out of its frighteningly steep dive," the paper said in an editorial.

Canada's Globe and Mail called it a "shift from the era of unrestrained globalization into a new era of what might be called 'managed globalization'."

It said the rise of the G20 "as an instrument for mending the economy", the new structure of the IMF and the involvement of key "developing countries" such as China, India and Brazil, meant the US was no longer the "necessary partner" in any major economic dealings.


The London-based Financial Times said the "world is better for having held this summit".

The newspaper welcomed the pledge to increase resources for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and to boost world trade.

But it described the detail on future fiscal stimulus and cleaning up the banks as "disappointingly thin".

"Leaders must remember that the crisis, which started in the banking system, will not be resolved until the banking system itself is fixed," its editorial said.

The Guardian described as "startling" the lack of progress on the "long-term project to reform capitalism", which it said could have made real headway at a conference of the most important economies.

But its editorial said "one crucial outcome" is that the G20 "is now the world's number-one decision-making forum, the place where serious horse trading can happen and lead to results".

Alex Brummer in the Daily Mail said the leaders had done their best to address public anger at the "avarice and irresponsibility" of the bankers.

"The concern must be that, in the political enthusiasm to suppress the animal instincts of the marketplace, entrepreneurship and recovery might also be stifled," he wrote.

Germany's Der Spiegel said that with new billions at the pump the world economy should be given a boost. But it takes issue with the official summit motto "Stability, Growth, Jobs" saying it would have been more honest to have written: "Debt, Unemployment, Inflation."

Under the headline "World Accord for a New Capitalism", France's Le Figaro says the main winner of the G20 is the IMF which will see its funds increase from $250bn (£169bn; 186bn euros) to $750bn.

The paper says the prize for political success at the summit should go to the French and German pairing, who managed to make their mark on the final communique, demanding the most precise regulation possible of financial markets. The paper quotes Nicolas Sarkozy's proud boast: "It's beyond what we could have hoped for."

Many Russian papers also saw the G20 outcome as a victory for Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Sarkozy.

"The main thing that the leaders have agreed on is to do away with liberal capitalism… based on a self-regulating market," said Sergey Semushkin in Komsomolskaya Pravda .

"From now on the activities of every large financial market participant will be monitored by the state."


Kenya's Business Daily warned of the need to overhaul post-World War II multilateral institutions.

"At the moment [the G20 countries] are pushing for protective measures with little regard to what happens to the developing nations. Such protectionism will surely lead to failure," it said.

Botswana's Mmegi also said it was time to "revise the global financial architecture".

"Africa played no role in triggering the current crisis. Yet a prolonged global slowdown will have a serious impact on economic development on the continent, with the attendant risk of aggravating poverty and other social problems."

Zimbabwe's New Zimbabwe warned of cuts in development support and foreign investment for poorer countries as Western countries seek to overcome the economic problems at home.

"These governments can no longer justify spending abroad whilst the locals are suffering. Charity begins at home, they will demand", the paper said.


China's Beijing News said the common understanding reached by the G20 leaders had gone beyond people's expectations.

The world, it said, needed co-operation from every country because the global economic crisis could only be solved at a global level.

China's People's Daily agreed, saying such co-operation was vital for a speedy recovery of the world economy.

"As a responsible big developing nation, China is beefing up co-operation with other nations to cope with the crisis to the best of its ability."

But Pakistan's Daily Mail thinks that while developing countries such as China are agreed on boosting the financial strength of institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, they will be unwilling to participate in restructuring them.

Many erstwhile powerful nations have yet to make way for emerging economies to have a greater say in these institutions, the paper says, adding that long gone are the days when the world economy hinged on critical decisions by the group of seven rich industrial nations.

World powers have apparently recognised the reality that the current economic crisis is something that has far-reaching effects, and that the only way out of it is for coordinated action, says Daily Star in Bangladesh.

Co-operation will be the key to ensure that countries do not employ self-defeating beggar-thy-neighbour or race-to-the-bottom strategies to cope with the downturn, it adds.

Middle East

The pan-Arab al-Quds al-Arabi said that while the summit achieved some positive results, "it focused on rescuing the rich and approving some regulations to prevent a repeat of the recent collapse. But it ignored the poor, who are the majority in the world."

The pan-Arab al-Arab al-Alamiyah said: "The key issue is not how big or how small the IMF's budget should be, but its policies and their link to the United States.

"The US has constantly played a role in facilitating IMF loans to countries that have special relations with her. This explains the lack of enthusiasm among EU states to beef up the fund's budget."

Ridwan Assayed in the pan-Arab al-Sharq al-Awsat said: "Sometimes disasters are necessary to bring about a change… the change I mean is not only economic but also political and strategic… there are now new economic powers... These new powers do not share the opinions of traditional western capitalist states."

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific