The head of the World Bank said yesterday the world had entered a new economic danger zone and that Europe, Japan and the United States all need to make hard decisions to avoid dragging down the global economy.

“Unless Europe, Japan and the United states can also face up to responsibilities they will drag down not only themselves but the global economy,” World Bank President Robert Zoellick said in a speech at George Washington University.

“They have procrastinated for too long on taking the difficult decisions, narrowing what choices are now left to a painful few,” he said, according to a prepared text of his remarks, which come ahead of meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund next week.

The meetings of global finance and development leaders in Washington will focus on Europe’s debt crisis and the risk of a Greek default, which has led to growing alarm in financial markets.

 

Mixed signals from European leaders have escalated concerns the 17-nation euro zone may be unable to unite behind a common approach to tackle the crisis.

Zoellick said European countries were resisting difficult truths about their common responsibilities, Japan had held off on needed economic and social reforms, and political differences in the United States were overshadowing efforts to cut record budget deficits.

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