Obama: Europe must solve financial crisis 'as soon as possible'

In an editorial published Friday in the Financial Times — and just days before Obama sets off for a G-20 meeting of global leaders in France — Obama said the U.S. and its partners must come together for the good of the world economy. 

He also harkened back to the large steps global leaders took to stymie the last financial crisis.

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"That's the leadership we've demonstrated before," he wrote. "That's the leadership we need now — to sustain economic recovery and put people back to work, in our own countries and around the world."

Obama said the deal hammered out Thursday by European leaders to address the European Union's debt crisis represented "important progress," but cautioned that the arrangement still needs to be implemented, and a "credible firewall" must be put in place to prevent it from happening again.

Along the same lines, he urged global leaders to follow the U.S. lead and implement strong financial reforms, including heightened bank capital requirements and greater regulation, particularly when it comes to financial derivatives.

The EU debt crisis has dragged down the U.S. and global economy, which in turn threatens to ruin Obama's chances of winning a second term in office. 

The president acknowledged that while bold steps were taken in the past, progress has not come fast enough and the world is still stuck with a fragile economic recovery. As a result, he called on leaders to stay focused on pursuing policies that encourage "strong, sustainable and balanced growth."

As the world's largest economy, the president said, the U.S. "will continue to lead." He touted his jobs package as well as three free trade agreements, with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, as his bids to speed the growth of the American economy, which is the single biggest thing he said he could do for the global economy.

Furthermore, he said the U.S. is working hard to substantially reduce its deficit in a way "that does not hamper the current recovery and that lays the foundation for future growth."

He called on other countries with similar fiscal issues to also address them, but for surplus-heavy nations to take other steps to support economic growth. Economies reliant on exports should do more to encourage domestic demand, for example, and exchanges rates should be made more flexible.

He also pressed leaders to transition away from fossil fuels and to clean energy resources, while investing in infrastructure and food security.