4 Nov 2011

Cameron: G20 ‘progress’ (but prepare for possible economic freeze)

When your PM comes away from a summit intended to sort out problems talking about “contingency planning” for some kind of Eurozone disaster, you get the impression things didn’t go too well. David Cameron made a point of saying the Treasury was busy gaming how a Greek exit from the Eurozone would impact on Britain’s and the world’s economy.

I understand that the Treasury is also looking at the impact of other possible exits from the Eurozone. The PM also made a point (twice, I think) of the “chilling effect” of the Eurozone crisis on the British economy … Getting worse with every week.

Britain didn’t get the boosted IMF firepower it wanted and which the Chancellor seemed to think was possible only yesterday. The government isĀ  putting a brave face on that talking about how there’s progress here but David Cameron was looking for much more.

Chancellor Merkel appears to have moved not one jot on the ECB acting like a central bank and buying Eurozone bonds more freely and in perpetuity – though there is a line in the communique about the Eurozone committing to use all its institutions to sort itself out.

Britain is saying that the G20 members wouldn’t commit to extra IMF firepower until the EFSF was a project and not just an outline plan. But some G20 members are pretty cool on this at the best of times – not least the US. All in all, some targets set that may or may not be met.

Ever wondered what declining world influence looks like? Well this is a little blurry but it is the attendance at David Cameron’s end of G20 press conference. It certainly tells you something about perception of influence. Slightly down on last year in Seoul to my memory. Very few non-British journalists came to listen.


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