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Obama Hosts World Leaders At G8 Summit


Leaders from among the world's eight biggest economies, known as the G-8, met at Camp David today. The main topic of conversation, keeping Europe's economy from imploding. The leaders also stressed the need for government policies that promote jobs and economic growth. President Obama says those measures have to go hand in hand with efforts to curb government deficits.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: As all the leaders here today agreed, growth and jobs must be our top priority. A stable growing European economy is in everybody's best interests, including America's.

RAZ: NPR's Scott Horsley has been monitoring the G-8 talks, and he joins us now. Scott, we just heard from the president a focus on growth rather than on austerity. We didn't hear that word. Does that represent a change, at least, for the European leaders at the G-8?

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Well, it does, Guy. You know, for the last, really, three years, ever since the economic crisis and the dealing with the fallout from that, there's been, sort of, a tug of war at these G-8 meetings and the larger G-20 meetings. And it's a debate that's familiar to those of us here in the United States between, on the one hand, cutting government deficits, and on the other hand, government policies that are designed to spur growth.

And in Europe, at least, the deficit hawks have - really have the upper hand, you know, a lot of austerity budgets on the continent, and now we're starting to see the pendulum swing back. And one sign of that, of course, is the election in France of the new president, Hollande, who ran on an explicitly anti-austerity, pro-growth platform. And now, at this meeting, even Germany, which has been the leading champion of austerity, was embracing a growth, something that needs to go in tandem with austerity measures.

RAZ: Now, of course, Greece is at the top of the agenda of many of these meetings. Greece is obviously not one the world's biggest economies, but it sounds like this was on everybody's mind today.

HORSLEY: They're nowhere near of membership in the G-8. It's a very much sort of a - an elephant in the room because the concern, of course, is that if Greece were to leave the Eurozone, that that could have spillover effects for other countries. So there was a strong commitment by the G-8 members to taking steps to keeping Greece in the Eurozone. Not a free pass for the Greeks, though. The join statement that was put out also stress that the Greeks need to live up to their own, thus, cutting commitments.

RAZ: Scott, this summit is just the beginning of a busy diplomatic week for the president. He heads to Chicago for the NATO summit tomorrow.

HORSLEY: That's right. He and many of the other G-8 leaders will be on their way to Chicago for a summit that is really focused on, both the future of NATO itself and its capabilities, but most importantly, what's going to happen in Afghanistan as the military troops begin drawing down from that country.

RAZ: That's NPR's White House correspondent, Scott Horsley, covering the G-8 Summit. Scott, thanks so much.

HORSLEY: It's my pleasure, Guy. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.