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Brussels, 10 November 2010

Taking global action for balanced growth: Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy at the G20 summit in Seoul from 11-12 November

Never before have people felt the effects of economic decisions and developments in another country so strongly in their own country as today. The financial and economic crisis has exposed our interdependence and vulnerabilities. The European Union will push during the upcoming meeting in Seoul of the G20 leaders, the "premier forum for international economic cooperation" to deliver the coordination that the world economy needs for strong and balanced growth. This will require cooperative action by all.

President Barroso said: "Sustaining the recovery and laying the foundations for strong and more balanced growth remains a significant policy challenge. As we move into a new economic phase, there is a risk that the momentum for cooperative action might weaken. We have succeeded in the first stage and have prevented the boat from sinking. We now have to steer it to port. I particularly welcome the fact that the G20 will now add development issues to the agenda, and I hope that the summit will give a clear orientation for the Doha Trade Development Round."

President Van Rompuy emphasised: "The G20 has shifted its focus from immediate crisis response to longer-term global economic coordination. With an ambitious agenda, the Seoul Summit will be a real delivery test for the G20 to act as the premier global forum for international economic cooperation. We are confident that it can lead the global economy out of the crisis and find cooperative solutions to recent tensions. The stakes for Seoul are high - for the credibility of the G20 and for each of its members. What we agree in Seoul will pave the way to the future."

The key issues for the Seoul Summit will be the implementation of the Framework for strong, stable and sustainable growth, endorsing and taking further the reform of the International Monetary Fund, keeping up the momentum for financial regulatory reform and giving a political impulse for a rapid conclusion of the Doha Round and a successful Cancún climate conference. Development will be on the G20 agenda for the first time, and facilitate trade and investment in development countries in a cooperative spirit among advanced and emerging economies.

In a joint letter of 5 November to the other G20 leaders, President Barroso and President Van Rompuy, had set out their views on these key issues on the G20 agenda.

The two Presidents call on the G20 to "recognise that economic imbalances are a common concern, and that all major economies must to do their part to achieve rebalancing." They propose using "current account imbalances as an indicator to trigger an assessment of the possible root causes of impediments to adjustments", while referring to the EU's internal alert mechanism to trace economic imbalances. They also call for a "clear political commitment to cooperative and lasting solutions to the current tensions in currency markets, to allow exchange rates to be set in line with market fundamentals and to refrain from competitive devaluation of currencies. G20 members should consider the possible effects on their partners and the global economy and refrain from actions that may have negative spill-overs."


At the G20 summit, the European Union will be represented by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

The European Union is a full member of the G20, alongside with 19 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.

The Korean G20 presidency has also invited several international organisations and the following five guest countries: Ethiopia (chair of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development NEPAD), Malawi (chair of the African Union), Singapore (chair of the Global Governance Group), Spain and Vietnam (chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ASEAN).

The EU represents 7% of the world population and 30% of world GDP and is both the world's largest exporter as well as the world's largest importer of goods and services.

The Summit starts with a dinner discussion on the global outlook and the Framework for strong, balanced and sustainable growth which leaders will continue to discuss in plenary in the first morning session on the next day. Thereafter they will address the reform of the International Financial Institutions and the strengthening of Global Financial Safety Nets, and in a separate session the new G20 Development Agenda. This is followed by a lunch discussion first on trade (Doha and protectionism) and then on climate change (Cancún and green growth). In the afternoon, the leaders will address financial regulatory reform and the future G20 agenda (energy related issues: fossil fuel subsidies, oil price volatility and marine protection; and anti-corruption). Just before the G20, President Barroso will attend the Business Summit, where he introduces and chairs a round table discussion on Corporate Social Responsibility.

For more information

Read the joint letter of Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy to G 20 leaders of 5 November 2010

Website of President Barroso

Follow the President's press team on Twitter

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