WASHINGTON  - US President Barack Obama said Friday the European Union had made “some progress” in resolving its eurozone sovereign debt crisis, but warned there was much more to do on the continent.
“We agreed that there has been some progress in resolving the sovereign debt issues, that there has been some progress with respect to the agreements between the EU and the IMF and Greece,” Obama told reporters after meeting with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt at the White House. “The new government in Italy, the new government in Spain, in Portugal are all making some significant progress but there’s a lot more work to do,” he added. Pledging to work with Denmark, Obama said he supports “growth in Europe because if Europe is growing, that affects the US economy as well.”
Denmark currently holds the rotating EU presidency.
Earlier Friday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, speaking ahead of the Group of 20 finance chiefs meeting in Mexico City, insisted that Europe must build a “credible” firewall to contain the financial crisis before the United States and other countries can agree to boost IMF intervention resources.
The EU is seeking at the G20 meeting to gain support for an additional $500 billion of intervention resources for the International Monetary Fund. The main aim of the money would be to help stanch any more eurozone-linked outbreaks of panic in the markets and the impact of those on bystander nations. But a number of countries, the United States in particular, are known to be resistant to adding to the IMF’s funds.
Geithner told CNBC television that steps taken so far have had “significant impact in reassuring the world that Europe is not going to make a catastrophic mistake in allowing a financial crisis to engulf the continent.”
“But they’ve got more work to do,” he said.
“Until we see that, I think it’s unlikely that you’ll see the major shareholders of the IMF be prepared to have the IMF play a larger response.”