Eurozone must do more to support growth: Lagarde

Tuesday 22 May 2012 20.03
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IMF chief has called for member states to do more to support growth
IMF chief has called for member states to do more to support growth
Barack Obama offers to send advisors to European Union summit this week
Barack Obama offers to send advisors to European Union summit this week

IMF chief Christine Lagarde said today that the eurozone had made a "serious improvement" in dealing with its crisis but called for member states to do more to support growth.

"More needs to be done in relation to supporting growth, particularly by way of structural reforms," Ms Lagarde said, but she said the IMF did not think the eurozone countries were in a position to use stimulus to promote growth.

Ms Lagarde made the comments at a news conference on the economic outlook.

Earlier, Barack Obama called for a "more effective coordination" among eurozone nations as he admitted that the Greek debt crisis has an impact on the US.

The US President offered to send US technical advisers to a European Union informal summit on Wednesday, aimed at finding ways to revive the euro zone's sickly economy.

He was speaking after a two-day NATO summit in Chicago that followed G8 talks at Camp David focused on the eurozone crisis that has threatened to unravel the 17-nation monetary union.

G8 leaders declared at the weekend their desire to see Greece remain in the eurozone as the nation heads towards fresh elections on June 17 after inconclusive polls last week handed big gains to anti-bailout parties.

The political uncertainty in Greece has raised fears that the country could be forced to abandon the euro after a crisis that has festered for more than two years.

With the economy dominating the US presidential election, Obama has pressed Europeans to quickly implement growth policies after two years of a German-led austerity drive that some analysts say is choking the European economy.

"What is most important is that Europe recognises this euro project involves more than a currency, it means that there must be more effective coordination" on fiscal and growth policies, Obama said.

"I'm not going to speculate on what happens if the Greeks choose to exit the eurozone, because they've got an election and this is going to be an important debate inside of Greece," Obama said.

"And I think it's important for Greece as a democracy to work through what their options are in a time of great difficulty. What happens in Greece has an impact here in the US," he said.