World

Harper says no Canadian money for European bailout

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says that following a two-day G20 meeting in France there is no thought of Canada contributing to a European bailout fund.
U.S. President Barack Obama, left, speaks with Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a round table meeting at a G20 summit in Cannes, France on Friday. (Michel Euler/Associated Press)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday there is no thought of Canada contributing to a European bailout fund.

"We see absolutely no reason why Canada, or frankly why any range of other countries, would need to contribute to such a bailout," he said following the conclusion of the two G20 meeting in Cannes, France.

"These are wealthy countries … who do have, and have got to have, the means of dealing with their own problems," Harper told reporters.

The financial crisis facing Greece and other countries, including Italy, was the key issue at the meeting. Greek legislators geared up for a crucial confidence vote in the beleaguered Socialist government Friday, as both main parties floated plans to approve a massive European bailout and call new elections.

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Harper made the comments after no countries at the summit gave firm indications they were willing to pump more money into the International Monetary Fund that could, in turn, be used to fund the European Union's bailout fund.

"It's important that the IMF sees its resources reinforced," Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, said. Decisions on how to bolster the IMF have been put off to February.

Despite that apparent lack of progress, Harper said the discussions at the summit  were "frank and useful."

"Our European friends secured an agreement on October 27 that is the basis of a solution. Pressure has been applied to move it forward, particularly in the case of Greece, and we note positive developments in this regard over the past couple of days," he said.

"Let me be clear, moving the European plan forward remains critical to restoring confidence and growth in the global economy," Harper added.

U.S. President Barack Obama says he's confident that Europe will fix the financial crisis that has rocked the eurozone.

"I am confident that the key players in Europe ... understand how much of a stake they have" in resolving the crisis, he said at the conclusion of the two-day G20 summit in Cannes, France on Friday.

Obama said that trying to co-ordinate all the interests can be laborious, but he thinks European leaders recognize that structural changes are needed.

French President Nicholas Sarkozy said the G20 leaders agreed to a firm stance on the situation in Greece.

While repeating his earlier comments that he didn't want to tell Greece and the Greek people how to run their internal affairs, Sarkozy said, "We have set the guidelines and it is not something that I regret." He was alluding to an Oct. 27 agreement to alleviate Greece's massive debt burden

With files from The Associated Press