World leaders are likely to agree to curb bank bonuses at next week's G20 summit and want evidence recession is over before they stop spending to prop up their economies, European heads of government said on Thursday.
Echoing comments by a senior Russian official, the European Union leaders warned against complacency over the recovery before talks in Brussels on forging a common EU strategy for the Group of 20 summit in Pittsburgh on September 24-25.
The leaders of the 20 developed and emerging economies also faced renewed pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to increase aid to poor countries that are victims of the global financial crisis.
We will discuss the return of the bonus culture in the financial sector. That annoys a lot of people. We need to deliver on this -- it's time to say enough is enough, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt told reporters in Brussels.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made clear there could be no going back to the bonus structure of the past, which had upset many voters.
I am confident that at Pittsburgh there is a common will to achieve action on something that has angered the populations of almost every country, Brown said.
The Pittsburgh G20 summit, the third since the demise of Lehman Brothers a year ago raised fears of another Great Depression, is set to focus on tougher financial regulation and what comes next, now that there are tentative signs of recovery.
Reinfeldt also said it was time to give world leaders a wake-up call on global warming, before international climate talks in Copenhagen in December.
MAINTAINING STIMULUS PROGRAMMES
The Kremlin's economic adviser said the G20 leaders agreed now was not the time to withdraw the trillions of taxpayers' dollars pumped into economies to counter recession.
I think the leaders will confirm, as did the finance ministers, that it is premature to drop these measures, but that it is necessary to think about formulating exit strategies, Arkady Dvorkovich told a news conference in Moscow.
Russia, which has spent large sums on anti-crisis measures, says the economy still needs support.
It fears the recovery could falter if big economies such as the United States, the euro zone, China and Japan unilaterally start to wind down stimulus policies.
Echoing that view, Brown said: Until the recovery is established, all countries must implement ... stimulus packages that have been announced, not just this year, but throughout 2010.
The crisis began when the U.S. housing and sub-prime credit booms went bust, triggering a crisis in global financial markets in 2007 that gradually tipped the wider economy into recession.
Trade unions have urged the G20 leaders to do more to help the 59 million people they say will lose their jobs in the crisis and are demanding action to get tough with banks.
French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said Paris would not demand a specific number on bonuses, but wanted clear limits.
We're not so narrow-minded to the point that we want a number, she told the Wall Street Journal. But we want something that can be nailed down to solid parameters ... something that effectively limits and frames compensation.
Jean-Claude Juncker, who chairs meetings of finance ministers from the 16 euro currency countries, told Deutschlandfunk radio that Europe should go it alone if Washington refused to go far enough on bank bonuses.
Regulators and central bankers are working on other reforms to make financial markets safer and root out excessive risk-taking by banks.
The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, a forum of regulators, said one priority was to have credible plans to unwind troubled banks and limit spillover to the rest of the banking sector at such moments.
Beyond bonuses and other financial reforms, investors are watching for any sign central bankers and governments are able and willing to raise rock-bottom interest rates or end the government spending programs launched after Lehman's demise.
In Washington, IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn took up a call by World Bank President Robert Zoellick this week for G20 leaders to increase resources for the poorest countries. Donors must step up to the plate, he said.
A further scaling up of aid ... is needed urgently, he said, estimating low-income countries needed another $55 billion in financing for this year and next to cope with the crisis.