German President Christian Wulff criticised efforts by the Group of 20 nations to contain the global financial crisis, saying they were too small in scale and had achieved little.

Last month's summit of G20 leaders in France failed to bring progress which the world urgently needed, Wulff said, citing regulation of the financial sector and setting stricter guidelines for the operations of major banks as examples of the group's failures.

The approaches that have been tried so far are too modest to match the scale of the problems that the crisis has exposed, Wulff said in a speech to businessmen Monday during a visit to Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.

Accompanied by a political and business delegation, Wulff is visiting the UAE as part of a tour to several Gulf states. He has a largely ceremonial role and little direct influence on government policy, but has spoken out this year as the euro zone debt crisis has worsened; in August he questioned the legality of the European Central Bank's bond-buying program.

Excessive debt, economic imbalances and competitive weaknesses in a number of countries have eroded trust in global financial markets, Wulff said Monday, adding that the problem was not limited to Europe.

In the context of the G20 and of global responsibility too, I appeal to everyone to start paying far more attention to sound, sustainable economic development and finances.

Wulff said that as Europe worked to repair its economy, Berlin would count on the oil-rich UAE as a major investor in Germany. But he did not make any public appeal for the UAE or other Gulf countries to contribute emergency aid to Europe.

European Union leaders agreed at a summit in Brussels on Friday that euro zone states and other nations should provide up to 200 billion euros (171 billion pounds) in bilateral loans to the International Monetary Fund to help it tackle the zone's debt crisis. They envisaged 50 billion euros of the total coming from non-euro countries, but it is not clear which nations would be willing to provide the money.

(Editing by Andrew Torchia)