Creating jobs - reducing poverty

Meeting of global economic and financial institutions in Berlin Creating jobs - reducing poverty

Foster growth, consolidate budgets and push ahead with structural reforms. That was the message to come out of the Chancellor’s meeting with the heads of the ILO, OECD, WTO, IMF and World Bank in Berlin.

Angela Merkel with representatives of economic institutions

The Chancellor and her guest agreed on many points

Photo: Guido Bergmann

After the meeting the Chancellor stressed, "We agreed that we have come some way towards weathering major crises, but none of these crises gives us ground for resting on our laurels. Unemployment is still the central problem that will have to be solved in the years to come." Structural reforms, a good education and work for the future are thus issues that play a key role in considering how Europe can work its way out of its problems.

The Chancellor and the heads of the world’s five leading economic and financial organisations also agreed that global economic development has improved tangibly, although what we see is still far from robust sustainable growth.

Since 2007, the heads of these five global bodies have met regularly with the German Chancellor to exchange views. Talks look at the situation of the global economy and the activities of the international organisations to master topical challenges of the global economy.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts that the global economy will grow by 3.6 per cent in 2014 and 3.9 per cent in 2015. The World Trade Organization (WTO) expects a limited growth in world trade of 4.7 per cent this year, with slightly stronger growth (5.3 per cent) forecast for 2015.

Confidence is returning

Financial markets, investors and households have regained confidence. Extremely high unemployment, a serious output gap, low investment, worsening inequality and slower growth in emerging economies are, however, still impacting on prospects of growth. Debt levels in most industrialised countries is still too high. In many countries urgent efforts are needed to tackle the unsatisfactory trends on the labour market.

Governments must then redouble their efforts to foster growth and ensure that fiscal consolidation is conducted at appropriate speed. Over and above this, they must continue to push ahead with structural reforms and realise these.

Further efforts needed

In the general discussion Angela Merkel, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim all stressed that important steps have already been taken to strengthen stability, competitiveness and public finances within the European Currency Union and its member states. Further efforts are, however, still needed.

The United States of America has made progress with fiscal consolidation, but is still suffering under a high level of debt. This demonstrates the need for a credible medium-term budget plan. The emerging economies, some of which have recently faced major challenges, will have to retain their strategy to ensure sustainable growth, improve their adaptability in the face of external shocks, and accelerate structural reforms, partly to reduce poverty.

Joint strategy successful

Participants agreed that the joint strategy of international economic-policy cooperation has overall mitigated the consequences of the crisis and opened up new opportunities for growth. The increased international networking of governments, international organisations and other stakeholders in the course of this process was welcomed.