Tuesday

16th Apr 2024

G20 must produce the goods, says EU

  • France has said it will leave the G20 meeting if discussions on financial regulation not meaningful (Photo: © European Community, 2008)

Prominent figures within the European Union have upped the ante with increasingly tough rhetoric as they prepare to negotiate solutions to the economic crisis at a meeting in London this Thursday (2 April).

"We are there for results," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told journalists in Brussels on Tuesday. "It is a question of now or never."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

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

... or subscribe as a group

"Someone said 'a crisis is a terrible thing to waste,' and I think it is a very good expression. This is a crisis, so we should use it to change what is wrong."

On the same day, French finance minister Christine Lagarde told British radio that France would walk away from the negotiations if "the deliverables are not there."

Her comments echo those of French President Nicholas Sarkozy who recently told French ministers: "If things don't move forward in London, it will be the empty chair. I will get up and leave," reports French daily Le Figaro.

French fears that the leaders from the Group of 20 industrial nations will backtrack on verbal commitments to improve global financial regulation are shared by Mr Barroso.

"Some of those who speak very often about the need for more effective regulation, afterwards when they have to agree on a precise proposal, they are not so ambitious," he said in reference to a recently agreed EU deal on regulation of the insurance sector.

He said the package agreed by EU ministers, known as Solvency II, had been significantly watered down from the original commission proposal.

However, Mr Barroso declined to say whether he would walk out with Mr Sarkozy if the debate turns into a talking shop while admitting that Thursday's meeting was unlikely to be the last of its kind.

G20 to become dominant forum?

"I think it would be useful to have another [G20] summit this year," said Mr Barroso. "I think the London summit should produce concrete results, but obviously it will be an ongoing process."

Already, leaders are jockeying to succeed Britain's Gordon Brown as the host of the next G20 meeting as they seek to boost their statesman-like credentials and portray themselves as international deal-brokers.

The inaugural G20 meeting of finance ministers took place in 1999 and has worked on a rotating basis since then. South Korea is due to hold the chair in 2010.

Upgrading the meeting to the level of heads of state and government appears to have thrown the cat amongst the pigeons however, with Italy, France, Japan and South Korea amongst countries reportedly vying to take over the chair of the next meeting.

Asked on Monday what the UK prime minister's reaction was regarding a suggestion that the Sardinian G8 summit in July could effectively become a G20 meeting, his spokesperson said that No.10 "would see merit in further meetings of the G20."

The response underlines the increasingly strong feeling in political circles that the G20 is the natural forum to resolve the world's problems as its members represent 80 percent of the world's GNP and two thirds of the world's population.

With so many disparate voices around the table however and an EU-US tug-of-war over whether economic stimulus or financial regulation should take preference still rumbling in the background, Mr Brown is likely to have his work cut out as he strives to secure a meaningful deal on Thursday.

Aware of this, Mr Barroso said his top priority for the meeting is "unity," stressing that G20 leaders needed to tackle a range of issues and not simply concentrate on one or the other.

As well as stimulus spending and financial regulation, global governance structures such as the International Monetary Fund and the Financial Stability Forum should be strengthened, he said.

Likewise, leaders must focus on rejecting protectionism and continuing the development agenda by meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, a set of targets to improve the life of people in the world's poorest nations by 2015.

Resist backlash on deforestation law, green groups tell EU

European environmental groups have urged the EU Commission to stand firm on implementing the bloc's landmark anti-deforestation legislation — despite a backlash from governments in South America, Africa and some EU ministers.

Analysis

'A race to the bottom': How the CAP green ambitions unravelled

The EU's easing of green agricultural policy conditions as a response to farmers' protests has sparked controversy. Critics fear that short-term quick fixes are not a solution for the sector, while others cite a CAP-Green Deal gap.

Opinion

This 'deregulation' lobbying now threatens EU economy

Next week's EU summit (17-18 April) will discuss the strategic agenda for the next five years. The current "competitiveness agenda" is to a large extent driven by a big lobbying campaign — so far, not well covered by the media.

Latest News

  1. EU puts Sudan war and famine-risk back in spotlight
  2. EU to blacklist Israeli settlers, after new sanctions on Hamas
  3. Private fears of fairtrade activist for EU election campaign
  4. Brussels venue ditches far-right conference after public pressure
  5. How German police pulled the plug on a Gaza conference
  6. EU special summit, MEPs prep work, social agenda This WEEK
  7. EU leaders condemn Iran, urge Israeli restraint
  8. UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us