News Summary: European growth still on US agenda
LESS EMPHASIS: When the Group of Eight industrial nations meet next week, President Barack Obama is not expected to be as insistent as he was last year that Europe focus more on economic growth than austerity, even though much of the eurozone remains mired in recession.
FOCUS SHIFT: The euro region's crisis is no longer considered an urgent threat to the global economy. High-debt nations have been given more time to work on cutting spending, and the language has changed from "austerity" to "growth-oriented structural reforms."
NEW WORRY: While the European economic picture remains bleak, of greater concern this year is Syria. Obama's decision to authorize lethal aid to Syrian rebels will be front and center during the summit, complicated by the attendance of Russian President Vladimir Putin, one of the Assad regime's most powerful backers.