BUSAN, South Korea, June 5 (Reuters) - British finance minister George Osborne welcomed apparent backing on Saturday of his plans to reduce Britain’s deficit by fellow ministers from the G20 group of developed and emerging economies.
The new language in a joint statement by the G20 leaders after a two-day meeting in the South Korean port city of Busan could also help heavily indebted euro zone countries to find the resolve to reduce borrowing, Osborne added.
“I think we’ve achieved a significant success by getting the endorsement of the G20 for the fiscal position we adopted just three weeks ago,” he told a news conference after the meeting.
The G20 statement did not name Britain specifically, but in new language supported “recent announcements by some countries” about spending cuts to take effect in 2010 and stronger national monitoring bodies.
Six billion pounds of budget cuts this year and an Office of Budget Responsibility were key campaign pledges for Osborne’s Conservative Party in the run-up to Britain’s May 6 election, and have since been implemented via a coalition with the centre-left Liberal Democrats.
Osborne said G20 ministers had not explicitly discussed the level of the euro, which has fallen to a four-year low against the dollar.
“The issues with the euro zone and the fiscal problems faced by some of the members of the euro zone did come up in discussion, and reinforced the view of the G20 that the countries with these problems need to get on and deal with them,” Osborne said.
“From my conversations with other participants there’s been a notable change of tone. And the new British government has made sure we’ve focused on ... countries with these issues. The G20 communique will help some of the governments in the euro zone who face these challenges to stick to their course.” (Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Alan Wheatley)