Why the G20 is obsolete
Arvamus 12 Nov 2010  EWR
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Piotr Maciej Kaczynski, Open Democracy.net12 November 2010

In order to keep Chimerica at bay, global policy coordination needs to be reformed. Time to forget about political correctness and talk about real power

The initial idea from the 1970s about having a global forum for informal meetings of the heads of the most important and influential states has been a good one. It provided for interaction among global key figures, which often helped ease tensions or even prevent conflicts. In the cold war era this was an excellent tool for exchange among the rich and powerful on the planet. Yet, shifting realities in the global power game rendered the original formula irrelevant and the G7 in 1999 was replaced by the G20 as the pivotal global forum for consultations among the most important people (MIP).

The reasons for the demise of the G7 are quite straightforward. Members of the G7 are the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan. Since the late 1990s Russia started attending the meetings transforming the G7 into a G8. At the same time the leaders of an ever growing and increasingly integrated European Union started to participate, especially in the person of the President of the European Commission. In the end, when ten leaders sat around the G8 table in Toronto last summer, six of them were Europeans: President Sarkozy, Chancellor Merkel, Prime Ministers Cameron and Berlusconi and the two EU Presidents: Barroso and Van Rompuy. In a world where de facto European dominance is a thing of the (quite distant) past, the set up was a mere joke, if not anything else. Hence, the meetings of the G8 had become not much more than a courtesy. No more global business making.

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(Piotr Maciej Kaczynski is Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels)
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