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Saturday, 23 February, 2002, 16:19 GMT
Blair appeals for 'global community'
Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski
The leaders agree on the issues underpinning elections
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has told a summit of progressive centre-left leaders that global solutions are needed for global problems.

Political leaders from 11 centre-left governments braved fierce Scandinavian weather for the informal two-day summit in Stockholm.

There was no fixed agenda and no concrete decisions were made at the third summit of its kind, but the leaders still issued a seven-page document that touched on many issues.

Unless we act together as a global community we are less likely to be able to deal with problems

Tony Blair
Among the topics discussed over the course of 24 hours were globalisation, the economic situation in Argentina, the threat of xenophobia, and the continuing fight against international terrorism.

Also covered at the summit was aid to Africa, with former US president Bill Clinton appointed to a role in developing the New Partnership for African Development Project.

He will conduct a special mission to the continent to explore the best ways of aiding economic development.

At the concluding press conference, Mr Blair stressed the importance of meetings between likeminded politicians.

He said dialogue and cooperation between countries was vital.

Global community

"Problems in one part of the world can affect another part.

"Unless we act together as a global community we are less likely to be able to deal with these problems."

The group also claimed to have identified the core agenda in domestic politics.

The likeminded
Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres
New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien
French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin
Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
South African President Thabo Mbeki
British Prime Minister Tony Blair
Chilean President Ricardo Lagos
Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Working towards stable economies, job creation and social justice have become the common ground on which to fight elections.

They agreed to meet next year in the UK under Mr Blair's chairmanship.

But with a number of centre-left leaders facing re-election this year - including Germany's Gerhard Schroeder and France's Lionel Jospin - they could be fewer in number.

Mr Blair held separate talks with his German and French counterparts, covering the war on terror.

The US-led coalition formed in the wake of 11 September remains strong, Mr Blair said.

Mr Jospin said the subject of Iraq and the progressive groups' relationship with the US had come up in the talks.

"We express the wish that they be with us, that we cooperate with them," Mr Jospin told the summit's concluding press conference.

Speaking after the 11 leaders met for a working dinner earlier in the summit, Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson said he feared that excessive delay in calling a poll on the euro could put paid to entry for good.

He was asked whether he felt Britain or Sweden would take the plunge and call a referendum first.

Momentum danger

"Sometimes I think they will go before us and sometimes I think it would be perfect if they did," he replied.

"Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and think it would be better if we go before them.

"Just now I think we will be ahead of them, but I might have a different opinion tomorrow."

Asked why it kept him awake at night he answered: "I am worried that we will lose too much momentum if we don't come to a decision about a final statement."

The BBC's Jon Sopel
"They discussed just about every world issue"
See also:

21 Feb 02 | UK Politics
Euro decision political says Straw
04 May 01 | Europe
Britain: Europe's awkward partner
29 Apr 01 | UK Politics
'Euro government' gets cool reception
01 Feb 02 | UK Politics
The third way goes global
31 May 00 | Europe
'Third Way' gets world hearing
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