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The global economy may be stuck in a long period of low growth and high unemployment, a period you might even call the new mediocre.
That was the message delivered today by one of the world's key players in finance and development, the head of the International Monetary Fund. It was a call to action, and a warning for countries to act, especially in one region of particular concern, the Eurozone.
Europe is now a continent climbing its way out of recession. For some, especially Britain and Germany, it's happening faster. But, in France, growth at the end of last year was stagnant, and tensions have spilled into the street. Thousands of people marched today against public spending cuts and austerity measures.
FRANCOIS LAPORTE (through interpreter):
I think the people who are protesting in Greece, in Spain, and here in France, they are right. We're right to not agree with austerity and with everything we have been made to go through only to make the bosses and the bankers rich.
In Greece, that sentiment is felt even more deeply, with unemployment still at 25 percent, despite deep cuts in public spending. The country has had to rely on $280 billion in bailouts from the European Union and the IMF.
Today, the new anti-austerity government in Athens eased concerns that it might default and paid back close to $500 million. Still, Greece will be the focus of high-level meetings at the IMF in Washington next week.
Another major topic up for discussion, the Chinese-led creation of an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. So far, 35 countries have signed on, but the U.S. is not one of them. That's led to questions about the United States' status in the global economy and the role of the International Monetary Fund.