Mike Froman, Obama's deputy national security adviser for international economics, told the advance briefing that "this isn't a meeting where we expect Europeans to make decisions about Europe."
Obama also had a "constructive" 45-minute meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, largely about economic issues, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
"The president was encouraged by what he heard regarding ongoing discussions in Europe about the paths they are pursuing to address the crisis," Carney said. "The two leaders agreed to work closely together, including at this G-20, to build support for what needs to be done in Europe and the world to stabilize the situation and support growth and jobs."
Obama is also scheduled to meet Tuesday with Chinese President Hu Jintao. The leaders are expected to discuss China's role in ongoing talks with Iran over its nuclear program, as well as China's role in spurring growth.
The members of the G-20 are the United States, the European Union, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Russia, China, Canada, Argentina, South Korea, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Australia.