LOS CABOS, Mexico – Finger-length and emerald-green, the lawns of time-share condos and all-inclusive resorts seem to gleam in the bright sun as the surf rolls gently against the white-sand beaches of Los Cabos. Sometimes the only noise is the ruffling of palm fronds in the languid ocean breeze.
It’s an idyllic place to thrash out the uncertain fate of Europe and the global economy.
There was some relief as leaders of the world’s largest economies began to assemble Sunday in this Baja California desert resort when Greece’s pro-bailout New Democracy party won the national elections, a vote for the financial status quo that could keep panic under control at least for now.
Before the latest Greek results came in, Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, was grim-faced as she addressed the B-20 meeting of world business leaders running up to the G20. She beseeched the businessmen to exert their influence and pressure world leaders to address the mission-critical priority of restoring investor confidence in the world economy.
Be as blunt as you can with the G20 leaders, she said. Prioritize and indicate what in your view, in the view of the investors around the world ... is critical as far as you are concerned to restore confidence.
Most European leaders were on the long flight to Los Cabos, or had put off their travel until the Greece results were in. President Obama, set to arrive Sunday night, and the summit’s host, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, have been downplaying expectations for the summit Obama is seeking bolder, swifter signals from Europe that it will contain its financial mess and keep it from torpedoing the U.S. economy and his re-election chances along with it.
Calderon has given a more hopeful message, including that he expects the G20 to produce record donations to the International Monetary Fund, exceeding member states’ pledges of $430 billion this year and bolstering its ability to conduct more bailouts in Europe.