Monday

21st Sep 2020

Wins and losses for EU at G20

A range of compromise agreements enabled leaders to save face on Sunday (27 June) as the Group of 20 meeting in Canada drew to a close.

A declaration on cutting national budgetary deficits in half by 2013 was heralded as a victory by EU politicians, but European hopes for a global bank levy fell by the wayside.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • G20 leaders listened to some of Europe's concerns (Photo: Commission)

"The summit's result reflects widespread convergence around Europe's approach," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said in a joint declaration after the event.

Major G20 states had already agreed to similar deficit-slashing targets prior to the Canadian meeting however, with language on the continued need for short-term stimulus measures reflecting US concerns.

Recent weeks have seen Washington engage in a war of words with a number of European capitals over concerns that European countries' austerity drives could put the brakes on the world's tentative economic recovery.

US President Barack Obama welcomed the G20 compromise agreement, but warned his country would no longer remain the global consumer of last resort. "No nation should assume its path to prosperity is paved with exports to America," he said.

Leaders also agreed to "stabilise" their debt levels by 2016, a statement designed to reassure jumpy financial markets that governments are serious about learning to live within their means.

Weak language in the final communique highlighted the divergency of views on a global bank levy, with countries that avoided the worst of the financial crisis such as Canada, Australia and Brazil, opposing the idea.

Instead, leaders agreed that there is a range of possible policy approaches for making banks pay a "fair and substantial" contribution toward future bank bail-outs. "Some countries are pursuing a financial levy. Other countries are pursuing different approaches," said the summit's final statement.

Should countries such as Germany, France and the UK decide to push ahead anyway, the weekend's decision means European levies are likely to be smaller as a result, in order to prevent banks simply moving to more lenient jurisdictions.

Bank Capital

Progress was made on the question of capital buffers for banks, a measure intended to ensure financial firms can better withstand economic shocks in the future.

Under the plans, set to be finalised at the next G20 meeting this November, banks will be compelled to hold more top-grade capital. "The amount of capital will be significantly higher and the quality of capital will be significantly improved when the reforms are fully implemented," said the final communique.

In a move to allay European concerns that the new requirements could stifle lending if implemented too quickly, the previously mooted 2012 deadline for the shift was scrapped.

The phase-in will now "reflect different starting points and circumstances" of G20 member states.

Meanwhile police said over 600 people had been arrested over the course of the weekend, as peaceful protests turned violent on Saturday. Windows were broken and police cars set on fire.

MEPs warn of 'significant gaps' in budget talks

The budget committee chair said the European Parliament expects tangible improvements to the package in its talks with member states - while the German minister argued that the EU leaders' deal was difficult enough.

Top EU officials urge MEPs give quick budget-deal approval

MEPs criticised the EU deal on the budget and recovery package clinched by leaders after five days of gruelling talks, saying it is not enough "future-oriented", and cuts too deeply into EU policies, including health, innovation, defence and humanitarian aid

EU Parliament gears up for fight on budget deal

European parliament president David Sassoli said certain corrections will have to be made in the budget, citing research and the Erasmus program for students, calling the cuts "unjustified".

EU leaders agree corona recovery after epic summit

After gruelling five-day talks, EU leaders agreed on €390bn in grants and €360bn in low-interest loans to hardest-hit member states - after much opposition from the Dutch-led 'frugal' bloc of countries.

EU summit enters fourth day with recovery deadlocked

After bilateral negotiations continued all Sunday night, mostly to try to convince the 'Frugal Four' to move their red lines, European Council president Charles Michel is expected to table a new proposal on Monday afternoon with €390bn in grants.

News in Brief

  1. Belarus president puts army on EU borders
  2. US: Lebanese group hoarding explosives in EU states
  3. Russia loses EU sanctions appeal
  4. UK guidelines explain Brexit treaty-violation plan
  5. Over 10,000 corona cases a day in France
  6. Greek police move Moria refugees following fire
  7. WHO warns Europe not to cut 14-day quarantine period
  8. MEPs urge EU Council to 'finally' protect rights in Poland

EU forecasts deeper recession, amid recovery funds row

The economies of France, Italy and Spain will contract more then 10-percent this year, according to the latest forecast by the EU executive, as it urges member state governments to strike a deal on the budget and recovery package.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  3. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID-19 halts the 72nd Session of the Nordic Council in Iceland
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCivil society a key player in integration
  6. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular

Latest News

  1. Commissioner: No one will like new EU migration pact
  2. Buying an EU passport 'no use for evading sanctions'
  3. MEPs call for first-ever EU law on Romani inclusion
  4. EU to help draft Libya's strategy on border security
  5. Spain to recognise Kosovo if it gets Serbia deal
  6. Ylva Johansson on Migration and Drama Queens
  7. Does Erdoğan's long arm now reach Belgian universities?
  8. Biden threatens UK trade deal over Brexit shambles

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  2. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  4. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  6. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us