EU industry groups call for coordinated economic action
A round table of 47 leading European industrial groups called on Monday for urgent political action, in particular from Germany, in response to what it termed an "extremely dangerous" economic crisis.
"We see economic conditions deteriorating rapidly in most of our industries, and we consequently see the urgent need for further coordinated political action," the European Round Table of Industrialists said in a statement.
"While we support the main policies outlined by the leaders of the G20 countries, we urge them to take further measures to stimulate demand," they added. They called in particular for "adequate fiscal policies, improving the availability of credit, and to strongly resist any moves towards protectionism."
An action plan forged in Washington by international leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) to tackle the global economic crisis met a tepid reception from world media, with opinion ranging from scepticism to outright cynicism.
Among the companies represented in the roundtable statement were the Finnish telecommunications equipment group Nokia, French companies Saint-Gobain and Renault, and German giants SAP and Siemens. The group's current president, Nokia boss Jorma Ollila, told a press conference that "this is going to be the long kind of recession, not the one that is over in six or nine months."
"The Europeans have to be ready for exceptional fiscal stimulus. And Germany, being the biggest economy, has such an impact on all other countries, it should lead the way,” he added. Ollila criticised rescue plans that favoured targeted sectors, which in Germany could involve the auto industry as it has become the focus of strong political interest.