The preparation for the G20 summit in St. Petersburg is coming to an end. Under the Russian leadership the summit is to take place on September 5-6 in Strelnya, a suburb of Russia's «second capital». The agenda of the meeting between the G20 heads promises to be quite busy. Viktoria Isayeva, a correspondent of the Voice of Russia, turned to Charles de Marcilly, Head of the Brussels office of the Robert Schuman Foundation, with the question about the expectations of the upcoming summit.
Mr. de Marcilly, the agenda of Russia’s leadership in G20 largely repeats last year’s agenda under Mexico’s leadership: there are the same issues of economic growth, unemployment, green growth and food security. Have the agenda and the main world problems really remained the same?
G20 was set up in late 1990s as a response to the financial crisis of those days. If the accent is made on that principle we notice that the reality has not changed that much. At the same time, the main purpose of the conference remains the same – it is to discuss the economic issues. One must remember that this annual summit is a forum that is in any case informal in its nature. The consultations and the discussions do not necessarily require achieving a result and do not imply any specific procedures for working out a decision. In reality the agenda of this summit is the same as before. During the meeting in Saint Petersburg the G20 heads will focus on the issues of stimulating the economic growth and will attempt to resolve the problem of unemployment and the creation of jobs in the near future. The second theme to be discussed during the summit is naturally the international financial and banking reform, which requires a thorough discussion. We are only planning to move to the Basel III standard. I believe that the EU is still not a good role model on this issue. But the results are not far away, I am confident of that. The financial and banking reform that has been launched in the EU could be introduces in the other G20 countries. And another important issue that will undoubtedly be discussed at the summit is the issue of taxation. The attention will be focused primarily on multinational enterprises, which sometimes find ways to avoid paying taxes while having the opportunity to use the difference in taxation systems in various countries. This issue needs to be resolved. I think that at the upcoming summit these three main issues will primarily be discussed.
If we look at the issues of the economic growth, some progress has been made compared to last year: the EU has announced that the recession is over and the unemployment level in the USA is at its record low. Can one expect new agreements or amendments to the existing agreements, for example, the amendment of the agreement banning protectionism in trade, which was required during the crisis and post-crisis years? Or is it too early to talk and think about that?
Naturally, the problem of trade relations will be in the focus of the discussions. However, remembering the failure of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the failure of some of the WTO negotiations, I believe that it would be difficult to find a solution of these issues acceptable to all G20 participants. On the whole, today the economic situation is better than was expected. One can say that the clouds have somewhat been dissipated. Nevertheless, a lot of problems still remain, which need to be resolved: the slowdown of the economic growth in the developing countries, a very high level of unemployment in Europe and so forth… And now it is still too early to think that there is a tendency towards a stable economic growth.
News source: The Voice of Russia
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