Accessibility links

Breaking News

Expectations Mixed Before Global Summit in London

Just days before world leaders gather in London for a key summit on the global economic crisis, expectations vary widely.

On the streets of London this weekend, people vented their fears, frustrations and anger at the bankers and the politicians they see as responsible for the economic woes they are feeling in their daily lives.

"We have had depressions," the protestor said. "We have had recessions. It is a boom and bust cycle that we are having and people are starting to get fed up with it."

But the big question leading up to the G20 summit is, will there be genuine unity in addressing the world economic crisis?

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband stressed that nice words alone would not do, but real substance must come out of the meeting.

"This is about trying to tackle an exceptional economic crisis, far beyond the financial system and set in place measures, measures that really do make a difference," Miliband said.

A difference not only now, Miliband says, but also in the long term.

Interviewed on the BBC, the influential billionaire investor George Soros delivered a somber assessment. He said the summit would represent a "make or break" moment for the world economy.

"Unless we reconstruct and maintain the international financial system, if countries start doing it bilaterally instead of multilaterally, the system will fall apart and we will end up in a depression," Soros said.

Meanwhile on a trip to Chile, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said it is easy to be cynical about the summit, but he remains optimistic a meaningful outcome can and must be achieved.

Despite disagreements over the scope of further fiscal-stimulus programs with some of his European colleagues, Mr. Brown said great progress has been made through joint action during the past few months and he said the G20 summit must build on that progress.