EU Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Vladimir Špidla said: "The economic crisis is a global crisis and is hitting labour markets around the world. We need to find global solutions to tackle its social impacts and to help people who are losing their jobs. Our priority has to be to keep people in work wherever possible, and to maintain and improve their skills so they can find new jobs. By coordinating our action at a global level, we can make sure that the human dimension is at the centre of discussions on improving international governance" (EURACTIV 31/03/09).
"The first priority is to build a new global financial architecture. The European Union must assert a common position and take the lead on this issue," stressed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy in a letter published on 17 March (EURACTIV 18/03/09).
"We are determined to obtain concrete results at the London summit to strengthen international financial regulation […] The European Union must propose that all hedge funds and other funds likely to create a systemic risk are subject to appropriate registration, regulation and supervision," the leaders continued.
Speaking to the Financial Times, US President Barack Obama emphasised the need for G20 leaders to sing from the same hymn sheet: "The most important task for all of us is to deliver a strong message of unity in the face of crisis," he said.
"I am confident that if we are persistent and we don't approach this with a thought that there is a silver bullet out there but instead we are willing to try a range of methods [...] that we will get out of this current crisis," Obama said.
In a speech to the European Parliament on 24 March, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown invited Europe to "take a central role" in leading the global reaction to the economic crisis (EURACTIV 25/03/09).
Brown called for Europe to take the lead in "replacing what was called the old Washington consensus with a new consensus of our times". He called for a coordinated "worldwide fiscal and monetary stimulus," saying this would be "twice as effective in every country if it is adopted by all countries".
On the same day (24 March), Brown made his speech to the European Parliament, Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, suggested that the British government should be "cautious about going further" in using fiscal measures that would "expand the size of our deficits" (EURACTIV 25/03/09).
Speaking before the British Parliament, King said "there is no doubt that we are facing very large fiscal deficits over the next two to three years".
"I think the fiscal position in the UK is not one where we could say, well, why don't we just engage in another significant round of fiscal stimulus," he warned.
Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, on 17 March in Brussels described Europe's response to the economic crisis as "entirely inadequate," suggesting that the continent needs a "large and sustained stimulus package to get out" of the crisis (EURACTIV 19/03/09).
He pointed out that the American economy had recovered from the Great Depression "with a little fiscal expansion called World War II," which he said gives an indication of "the size of the stimulus needed". The European stimuli, all well below 4% of GDP, are "entirely inadequate," he explained.
Former chief economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Professor Willem Buiter is not hopeful of success at the London summit. He posted on his blog that "the Group of Twenty (G20) meetings that start on 2 April ought to have started on 1 April instead. That way, when nothing but hot air emanates from the Docklands venue, at least the organisers of the event will be able to claim it was all an April fool's joke".