And finally, we discussed two of the other long-term challenges that will define our times, which I will be focused on throughout my trip in Europe — the need for global action to confront climate change and a renewed effort on behalf of nuclear nonproliferation, which I will be discussing later today with President Medvedev.
Our immediate task, however, is the critical work of confronting the economic crisis. As I’ve said, we’ve passed through an era of profound irresponsibility; now we cannot afford half-measures, and we cannot go back to the kind of risk-taking that leads to bubbles that inevitably bust.
So we have a choice: We can shape our future, or let events shape it for us. And if we want to succeed, we can’t fall back on the stale debates and old divides that won’t move us forward. Every single nation who’s here has a stake in the other. We won’t solve all our problems in the next few days, but we can make real and unprecedented progress. We have an obligation to keep it — keep working at it until the burden on ordinary people is lifted, until we’ve achieved the kind of steady growth that creates jobs and advances prosperity for people everywhere.
That’s the responsibility we bear; that must be the legacy of our cooperation. And I’m extraordinarily grateful to Gordon for his friendship and his leadership in mobilizing at a time of such significant moment.
PRIME MINISTER BROWN: Thank you very much. I said to Barack I was going to introduce him to my friends in the British media.
Q Prime Minister, thank you very much, indeed. Nick Robinson, BBC News. A question for you both, if I may. The Prime Minister has repeatedly blamed the United States of America for causing this crisis. France and Germany blame both Britain and America for causing this crisis. Who is right? And isn’t the debate about that at the heart of the debate about what to do now?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I would say that if you look at the sources of this crisis, the United States certainly has some accounting to do with respect to a regulatory system that was inadequate to the massive changes that had taken place in the global financial system.
I think what is also true is that here in Great Britain, in continental Europe, around the world, we were seeing the same mismatch between the regulatory regimes that were in place and the highly integrated global capital markets that had emerged.
So at this point, I’m less interested in identifying blame than fixing the problem. And I think we’ve taken some very aggressive steps in the United States to do so — not just responding to the immediate crisis, ensuring that banks are adequately capitalized, dealing with the enormous drop-off in demand and the contraction that’s been taking place, but more importantly for the long term, making sure that we’ve got a set of regulations that are up to the task.