The Eurozone crisis is dominating the G20 talks in Mexico, with world leaders pressing Europe to come up with a resolution.
Jose Angel Gurria, head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said the catastrophe was “the single biggest risk for the world economy”.
But the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, said that “the challenges are not only European, they are global”.
Mr Barroso said the crisis “originated in North America” with the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage lending market.
He added: “Not all the members of the G20 are democracies but we are democracies and we take decisions democratically,” he said. “Sometimes this means taking more time.
“Frankly we are not coming here to receive lessons in terms of democracy or in terms of how to handle the economy, because the European Union has a model that we may be very proud of.”
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced that its crisis-fighting fund has swelled to $456 billion after more countries pledged cash.
In addition, the BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – said they will increase their contribution.
The five countries, which are among the world’s fastest-growing emerging economies, have asked for more of a say in the IMF.