Monday

9th Dec 2019

US and EU find common ground on global financial reform

  • George W. Bush will host the G20 meeting in Washington this Saturday, but concrete decisions are expected at a second summit, after President Barack Obama takes office. (Photo: Irish Presidency)

As he prepares to host a G20 meeting on Saturday, outgoing US President George W. Bush has said he has found "common ground" with European leaders on how to address the financial crisis. However, the specifics of global reform of financial regulation are unlikely to be agreed before president-elect Barack Obama takes office.

"We believe there is a great deal of common ground among our approaches to address the turmoil in the financial markets, and President Bush looks forward to discussing how to best advance reforms to global financial markets with a wide range of leaders," White House spokesperson Dana Perino said on Saturday (8 November).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

President George W. Bush will host a summit of the world's 20 leading industrialised and emerging countries in Washington on 15 November, but the expectations are that any concrete reforms will be developed only after a second summit early next year in which the incoming Obama administration participates.

EU leaders gathered at a summit in Brussels on Friday agreed to tighten worldwide oversight of the financial sector. Concrete proposals include revised accounting standards, closer supervision of credit rating agencies and hedge funds, an early warning system to tackle risks and a central role for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) "in a more efficient financial architecture."

"We agree with European leaders on the importance of identifying common principles to guide reforms, setting out a process to implement those principles promptly, and proceeding with actions on certain reforms immediately," Perino said, though remaining vague on the specifics of the reforms.

Mr Bush and other administration officials have been pressing for the gathering of the G20 nations next week to also re-affirm support for free market principles, expanded trade and increased investment and capital flows, Reuters reports.

Kouchner to meet Obama aides

Meanwhile, French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner will meet aides to president-elect Barack Obama as well as current secretary of state Condoleezza Rice during a visit to Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The minister will be the first French official to travel to Washington since Obama's election victory, hailed in Europe as a great opportunity to strengthen EU-US relations, which were very much strained during the Bush administration.

Mr Kouchner said last Thursday that Mr Obama's election raised "hope on all fronts including the Middle East, Iran - whether there will be a dialogue or not - Afghanistan, Pakistan and relations with Russian and China," while warning that Europe would not give a "blank cheque" to the incoming US administration.

A letter agreed last week by EU's 27 foreign ministers to set out a new course for trans-Atlantic relations would not be handed over now by Mr Kouchner, but only after Mr Obama takes office on 20 January, AFP reports.

Spain to join the G20 meeting on a French seat

Initially not invited to join the G20 meeting, Spain is now to participate at the Washington financial summit after France ceded one of its two seats to Madrid. France unusually has two seats at the summit as it was also entitled to one as current chair of the EU's six-month rotating presidency.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Saturday thanked French President Nicolas Sarkozy and President Bush for supporting his country's claim to take part, which he called a first step towards the country regularly participating in global economic forums.

Zapatero stressed the need for the summit to reconsider the leadership roles assigned to the various groupings of world economic powers such as the G8 or G20 and said Madrid would advocate high standards of transparency and supervision for the international financial system at the Washington meeting.

Absent from the participants list to the G20 meeting was also the president of the Eurogroup, Luxembourgois Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who said on Friday he was "not offended" by this, as the EU already had agreed on common principles to put forward in Washington.

However, he stressed that Spain, the world's eighth largest economy, was very important and deserved a "full seat", not a "demi-seat" or a "mini seat" shared with the French EU presidency. He also called it "an aberration" that the African Union was not represented at the G20, when Africans were the first victims of the global financial and economic crisis.

Feature

Promises and doubts: Africa's free-trade adventure

The EU is hoping that a continent-wide free trade agreement in Africa will help lift millions out of poverty and help solve issues of security and migration. But its message of values and equal partnership do not resonate with everyone.

Interview

EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration

Europe's obsession with migration from Africa means it risks losing out the continent's potential when it comes to trade, says the EU's ambassador to the African Union, Ranier Sabatucci. "Africa is a growing continent, it is the future," he says.

EU agrees 2020 budget deal

EU governments and the parliament agreed in marathon talks ino next year's budget - which will boost spending on climate, border protection, and the European satellite system. It will also be a benchmark if there is no long-term budget deal.

EU and China agree to defend 'gastronomic jewels'

Manchego cheese, Panjin rice and Polish vodka will all be protected under a new EU-China agreeement. But the two trading giants continue to struggle over other trade-related deals.

News in Brief

  1. Greece denies access to fair asylum process, report says
  2. Report: Self-regulation of social media 'not working'
  3. Turkey: Greek expulsion of Libyan envoy 'outrageous'
  4. Merkel coalition may survive, says new SPD co-leader
  5. Von der Leyen Ethiopia visit a 'political statement'
  6. Over 5,500 scientists ask EU to protect freshwater life
  7. Iran defies EU and UN on ballistic missiles
  8. Committee of the Regions: bigger budget for Green Deal

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. Russia makes big promises to Arctic peoples on expansion
  2. UK election plus EU summit in focus This WEEK
  3. Migrants paying to get detained in Libyan centres
  4. Searching for solidarity in EU asylum policy
  5. Will Michel lead on lobbying transparency at Council?
  6. Blood from stone: What did British PR firm do for Malta?
  7. EU Commission defends Eurobarometer methodology
  8. Timmermans warns on cost of inaction on climate

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  2. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  3. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us