Brown calls for new "Bretton Woods" meeting

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Gordon Brown called on Monday for world leaders to come together to remake the Bretton Woods agreement to tackle a 21st century globalised financial system.

“Sometimes it does take a crisis for people to agree that what is obvious and should have been done years ago can no longer be postponed. But we must now create the right new financial architecture for the global age,” Brown said in a speech at the London offices of Thomson Reuters.

The Bretton Woods conference in 1944 helped draw up the post-war financial order and established the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Brown said he would push his plan at a meeting of European Union heads of government on Wednesday, adding he had first mooted the idea 10 years ago but found few takers at the time.

The Prime Minister said global institutions like the IMF “were all devised by men and women of great vision.”

“With the same courage and foresight of their founders, we must now reform the international financial system around agreed principles of transparency, integrity, responsibility, good housekeeping and co-operation across borders,” he said.

Italy has said it will propose broadening the Group of Seven nations and give new tasks to the IMF and World Bank, when it assumes the rotating presidency of the G7 in January.

German President Horst Koehler, a former head of the IMF, has also called for the staging of an international conference along the lines of the one held in Breton Woods. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who holds the European Union presidency until the year-end, has made similar demands.

Writing by Mike Peacock and Jodie Ginsberg, editing by Chris Pizzey