Peter Hoskin

Saving the world: part 73

Saving the world: part 73
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Is Brown trying to save the world again?  It's hard not to get that impression from reading his dreary article in the FT today.  Headlined "What Europe must do to build a recovery," it adopts the same lecturing tone, and the same misleading claims about the UK position, that Brown patented last autumn and carried forward into the G20 Summit:

"...the next stage in the recovery from global recession must be a strengthened European growth strategy. The economic decline of our biggest export market is becoming today’s greatest anti-recession challenge. In its last forecast, the European Commission predicted a 4 per cent decline in output across the EU, with unemployment potentially rising by as much as 9.5m between 2008 and 2010.

The euro area is expected to be hit harder than the UK this year and next, despite the disproportionate initial impact on Britain of the banking crisis. So I will be working with European leaders in advance of the European Council to advance on our decisions at the Group of 20 with a more focused Europe-wide strategy for growth."

Never mind that in the European Commission report Brown refers to, the UK is but a rounding error away from the sharing the same bleak growth forecasts as the Euro area*: this is all about reheating the idea that he's taking a lead globally, whatever Cameron may be saying on the domestic stage.

I imagine it's all for naught.  Brown's comfort zone may be international finance, but articles like this will resonate with neither the British public nor his European counterparts.  Indeed, it just reinforces the impression that the G20 Summit didn't achieve as much as our Dear Leader would have us believe.    

*They forecast Euro area growth at -4.0 percent for 2009, and -0.1 percent for 2010.  The UK is as -3.8 percent for 2009 and 0.1 percent for 2010.