G20 leaders prepare for big meetings on European debt crisis

Jeremy Hobson: Finance ministers from the world's biggest economies are in Paris this morning. The G20 ministers are talking about the debt crisis
in Europe, which has the potential to spread far beyond the continent if it's not contained.

The BBC's Hugh Schofield is in Paris and he joins us now. Good morning.

Hugh Schofield: Good morning to you.

Hobson: Let me ask you first -- in the context of all of the big meetings that go on involving the European debt crisis, what's the significance of this one happening to day in Paris?

Schofield: It's significance is that it comes right at a crux time for the eurozone debt crisis. We're approaching -- yet again -- a sort of crunch moment. In a week from now, we've got the European summit in Brussels where some kind of mega-plan is supposed to be announced. Just a week after that we've got the G20 heads of state and government meeting in Cannes -- where again, big announcements are expected. This meeting today and tomorrow is supposed to sort of prepare the ground for all of that. So it's crucial because it's a crucial time.

Hobson: And tell me about the role of the G20 in this. Usually we hear about the IMF, or the European Union, being invovled in dealing with the European debt crisis. What's the G20's role?

Schofield: The G20 is this expanded body that really developed over the last two or three years to bring in the new players in the world economy. Now clearly, the eurozone crisis is primarily a European crisis, but it does impact on the whole world.

And what we're hearing from French officials here who are hosting the event is that the world economy is not exactly in great shape at the moment, so it's in everyone's interest to get this eurozone sovereign debt crisis sorted out. And I think there is a hope that there is a role to be played by the Brazils, by the Chinas -- by the great creditor, booming economies -- because it's their money, maybe, that will be required to help boost Europe as it goes through this terribly difficult period that it's going through now.

Hobson: The BBC's Hugh Schofield joining us from Paris. Thanks, Hugh.

Schofield: OK.


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