- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 14, 2009

LONDON (AP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday rejected calls for European nations to consider new fiscal stimulus packages to help ease the impact of the global downturn.

Officials in the U.S. have suggested Europeans should do more to match the scale of Washington’s $787 billion package of spending and tax cuts.

Following talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Merkel said action in Berlin, London and other European capitals had barely had time to produce results.

“Nothing has actually yet taken effect on the ground,” Merkel told reporters at London’s Downing Street. Germany last year launched a fiscal stimulus equivalent to 4.2 percent of annual GDP, she said.

“If we want to actually strengthen the effect of such packages we will simply have to implement them first, and not already talk about the next to come,” Merkel said, speaking through a translator.

Merkel and Brown said next month’s summit of the Group of 20 industrialized and emerging economies should instead seek concrete action on toughening regulation of financial markets.

“This is going to be a crucial year which will show whether we are able, as an international community, to cooperate and meet these challenges, or if we are not,” Merkel said.

The German leader said she’s optimistic the G-20 summit in London can produce results “that see to it that through new regulation, through new supervisory functions, we ward off such a crisis in the future.”

Finance ministers of the G-20 nations were separately holding talks Saturday in Horsham, in southern England.

Brown, who said he and Merkel had chatted over a long walk in the southern English countryside, praised a decision by Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg and other countries to cooperate over international tax evasion, in an easing of banking secrecy rules. “That is a sign of the world working together and making progress,” he said.

“This is a recognition I believe that the old tax havens and the regulatory havens have no place in this new world _ and we now call on all countries to adopt international standards,” Brown said.

He predicted that the London summit will bring further deals on regulating the global banking and finance sectors. “You’re going to see a massive change in the supervisory system,” Brown told reporters.

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