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Mexico’s Calderón Urges Europe to Take Bold Action to Firewall Debt Crisis

Adrian Monck, Managing Director, Head of Communications: +41 (0)79 817 0315; adrian.monckb265f5c326a57fd@028986188cfa3fweforum.org

  • President Calderón of Mexico, which holds the presidency of the G20 this year, called on Europe to move quickly to set up sufficient firewalls to contain the debt crisis
  • Resolving the European crisis is an important task for the G20, which will hold its next summit in June
  • The theme of the 42nd World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models. For more information, visit http://wef.ch/Davos

Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 26 January 2012 – Mexican President Felipe Calderón strongly urged Europe to move quickly “to create a firewall to prevent the spread of panic” should the European sovereign debt crisis get out of control. Addressing participants at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Calderón said that the financial turmoil in Europe is a top concern on the agenda of the G20, the main international forum for managing the global economy. Mexico, which holds the presidency of the G20 this year, will host the next G20 summit in June.

An effective firewall to contain the crisis is more than a source of money, the Mexican leader explained. “It is a source of the confidence we need. The more money you put in a firewall, the more confidence you create. The more confidence you create, the less money you need. But the less money you put into the firewall and the more you hesitate, the more money it will end up costing you.” Calderón drew several lessons for Europe from the experience of Mexico and other Latin American countries in dealing with debt crises. His main advice: “Taking action now is much cheaper than taking action in the future.”

Resolving the European crisis “is a task for all of us in the G20,” Calderón acknowledged. “Don’t forget that we are all in the same boat. The failure of a containment strategy will mean not only the implosion of the euro but a devastating crisis with consequences for the rest of the world.”

In a special address to participants shortly after Calderón’s, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that, while he hoped that the European crisis will have been resolved by the G20 summit in June, the international response would be focused and coordinated. “The G20, despite having certain constraints, is really the only genuine forum for international governance of the global economy,” Harper remarked.

He also stressed the need for countries dealing with the crisis to make the tough choices needed to avoid even greater problems in the future. “Western nations, in particular, face a choice of whether to create the conditions for growth and prosperity, or to risk long-term economic decline,” Harper said. “As we know both from the global crises of the past few years and from past experience in our own countries, easy choices now mean fewer choices later.”

In between the speeches by Calderón and Harper, Burmese political leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, General Secretary of the National League for Democracy, addressed participants in a taped video. She asked for the international business community’s support as Myanmar moves to implement major political reforms. “The possibility for a great transformation is in sight for our country,” declared Suu Kyi, whose party is participating in by-elections on 1 April. Burma has a chance to create a “new model economy” in which “social and environmental concerns are woven into food, water and energy needs,” she explained. “We wish to create a political, social and economic environment that will bring new ethical and creative investments to our country.”

Notes to Editors

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