Obama: Greek vote shows ‘positive prospect’ for pursuing reforms

Olivier Knox
June 18, 2012

President Barack Obama on Monday cautiously welcomed the results of Greece's weekend elections, which saw voters award a narrow victory to a political party that favors staying in Europe's currency union. But Europe and the United States still have a lot to do to stave off fears of another global downturn, Obama warned.

"I think the election in Greece yesterday indicates a positive prospect for not only them forming a government, but also them working constructively with their international partners in order that they can continue on the path of reform and do so in a way that also offers the prospects for the Greek people to succeed and prosper," Obama said on the sidelines of an international summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Obama, speaking as he met with Mexican President Felipe Calderon on the margins of the Group of 20 meeting, made clear that world leaders still have work to do.

"Obviously we are going to be very busy over the next day and a half,"  Obama said. "The world is very concerned about the slowing of growth that has taken place."

"Now is a time as we've discussed to make sure that all of us do what's necessary to stabilize the world financial system, to avoid protectionism," Obama said, according to a pool report by Carol Lee of the Wall Street Journal.Obama predicted the summit of the G-20 nations, which together represent the bulk of the world's economy, trade and population, would be "very productive."

The leaders assembled in Los Cabos will seek steps to ensure "that the economy grows, the situation stabilizes, confidence returns to the markets and, most importantly, we're giving our people the chance if they work hard to succeed and do well," Obama said.

The president's meeting with Calderon came after the Obama administration announced that the United States and eight other countries currently negotiating a "Trans-Pacific Partnership" (TPP) to expand trade had invited Mexico to join the talks. The other countries are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Calderon called the invitation "a great piece of news for Mexicans" and predicted TPP would help create jobs and boost trade. The Mexican leader also praised Obama's decision to halt the deportation of as many as 800,000 young illegal immigrants, saying the move required "valor and courage."

Obama came to the G-20 with a high-powered delegation that includes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. The White House worries that a downturn in Europe could drag down the sputtering U.S. economy, hurting Obama's re-election chances.