Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Sunday, 1 March 2009

Brown: EU is united over economy

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown said EU leaders were agreed on the way forward

Gordon Brown has said the EU is united on the measures needed to tackle the global recession as he prepares for his first meeting with the US President.

Speaking after an emergency summit of EU leaders in Brussels, the PM said better financial regulation and action to keep interest rates low was needed.

"Bold global action, a global grand bargain, is not now just necessary but it is vitally urgent," he said.

Mr Brown will discuss the crisis with Barack Obama in the US next week.

Urgency

He hopes the trip to Washington, where he will also address both houses of Congress, will lay the ground for April's G20 meeting of world leaders in London which he will host.

Many of Europe's leading economies are in recession while the US has seen the sharpest contraction in growth in nearly 30 years.

Mr Brown said the crisis required decisive action, with a new cross-border supervision and regulation of financial markets and reforms of bodies such as the International Monetary Fund.

Also essential were more effective financial regulation, a co-ordinated economic stimulus package, and a rejection of protectionist measures, the prime minister added.

Putting up trade barriers to support domestic industries would be a "road to ruin" and only serve the deepen the recession.

Mr Brown also said the EU needed to plan for the recovery by focusing on high-tech and low carbon development.

Earlier, Mr Brown vowed to forge a "global new deal" with Barack Obama during talks in Washington this week.

Writing in the Sunday Times, the prime minister said any challenge could be "overcome by America, Britain and the world working together".

Mr Brown will become the first European leader to meet President Obama since he took office.

Partnership

Mr Brown said the historic "partnership of purpose" between Britain and the US should be directed at fighting the economic downturn as well as terrorism, poverty and disease.

He said the impact of the new deal "can stretch from the villages of Africa to reforming the financial institutions of London and New York - and giving security to the hard-working families in every country".

Mr Brown also stressed his fondness for America ahead of the visit.

"I have always been an Atlanticist and a great admirer of the American spirit of enterprise and national purpose," he said.

"I have visited America many times and have many friends there, and as prime minister I want to do more to strengthen even further our relationship with America."

Mr Brown will follow in the footsteps of Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair in addressing both the Senate and House of Representatives.

"Winston Churchill described the joint inheritance of Britain and America as not just a shared history but a shared belief in the great principles of freedom and the rights of man," he said.

"And as America stands at its own dawn of hope, I want that hope to be fulfilled through us all coming together to shape the 21st century as the first century of a truly global society."

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