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Global Economy Has Big Stake in Europe's Crisis: Obama

AP
Friday, 4 Nov 2011 | 11:07 AM ET

President Barack Obama said world leaders have made important progress to put their economic recoveries on firmer footing.

Barack Obama
Source: CNBC.com
Barack Obama

Obama said all countries have an enormous stake in the outcome in Europe because they all will be affected if Europe isn't growing.

Obama addressed the media Friday at the conclusion of a global economic summit in Cannes, France.

Obama is spending much of the day huddled behind closed doors with the assembled world leaders. He also planned to meet one-on-one with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez before his session with the media.

The continuing European debtcrisis, fueled by the threat of a Greek default, dominated Thursday's Group of 20 meetings.

Obama met separately with Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, key architects of a bailout plan for Greece. The three also met as a group later Thursday with other European leaders.

A day that began with worries about the Greek prime minister's call for a public vote on the bailout plan ended with word from Athens that the referendum had been scrapped. But Prime Minister George Papandreou still faced a difficult confidence vote on Friday.

At the summit, Obama is pushing an overarching theme of economic stability and job growth. But his message was being challenged by the troubles of the euro, difficulties that could spread across all of Europe and beyond, threatening the U.S. as well.

With the U.S. economy still weak but showing new signs of upward momentum, any global economic setback could be disastrous. Obama's own political hopes for winning a second term next year rest on the economy climbing out of its stall.

A new U.S. jobs reportfor October released Friday showed a fourth straight month of modest hiring and a dip in the unemployment rate from 9.1 percent to 9 percent, although hiring slowed a bit.

Overcast skies and occasional rain dampened the summit mood and took some of the glamour out of this chic resort on the French Riviera, with its trendy shops, marinas and ocean view hotels. Threatening skies served as a metaphor for the menacing troubles facing the eurozone.

President Obama's G20 News Conference
President Barack Obama discusses what is on the G20 summit agenda, including work to avoid another depression.

Still, Obama found time for lighthearted asides. "I was hoping to come and see some movies," he said as he met with Sarkozy, a reference to the famous Cannes Film Festival that attracts a different, red-carpet crowd each May.

A U.S. official said Sarkozy's office had requested the unusual joint television interview with Obama.

Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said the appearance underscored the close partnership and friendship the two presidents have developed over the past three years.

Obama on Thursday described Sarkozy as "my excellent friend." Sarkozy, in turn, said he was delighted by the opportunity for the joint interview because Obama "is much loved and liked here in France."

For Sarkozy, a high-profile appearance with someone as popular as Obama is in France, can have political benefits. He also faces a tough re-election bid next year.

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