Toronto, 24 June 2010
Introductory remarks of the President of the European Commission, J.M. Barroso, at the joint press conference with the President of the European Council, H. Van Rompuy, ahead of the G8 and G20 summits
I am pleased to have arrived here in Canada for the G8 and the G20 summits. We had the opportunity recently to welcome Prime Minister Harper in Brussels for the EU-Canada summit and I would like to tank the Prime Minister and Canada for the impressive preparatory work for these two important summits.
The meetings of G8 and G20 leaders come at a crucial and challenging time indeed for the world economy and the most vulnerable on our planet. President Van Rompuy and I come to the summits representing the European Union. The EU's message for our two summits here in Canada is clear: We must not allow the resolve for global coordinated action to weaken. We must rebuild confidence and the conditions for sustainable growth. And we must deliver on our promises to the world's poor.
I welcome the refocused G8 format, fully complementary to the G20 leaders' process, which we have established as the premier forum for international economic cooperation.
For the G8, 2010 must be a year of delivery and inclusiveness. The world cannot thrive on imbalances, be it macro-economic or others. Sustained action is needed to bring the poorest and most vulnerable nations on board. I was in Gleneagles in 2005, 5 years ago. And in fact we have to say that today we have not yet reached all our commitments. In yet another 5 years, we will be in 2015, the target date for the Millennium Development Goals. I will continue to push this agenda at the summits in the UN high-level meeting on the MDGs later this year. The EU is the world's first donor providing 58% of development aid worldwide (49 billion Euro / 63 billion USD per year in 2009 or close to 100 Euro per European citizen). I am very proud that the EU's 1 billion Euro food facility, which I announced at the 2008 Summit in Japan, has resulted already in 222 projects and has benefitted 50 million people in poor countries. More than 500 million Euro are already disbursed. Most of the money is already committed. We pledged, and we delivered.
In Muskoka, we will support the strong focus of the G8 Chair on development. All G8 members are increasing their accountability and transparency through a comprehensive accountability report. I would like to see a strong signal by G8 leaders on how to speed up the pace towards achieving those MDGs, where progress is lagging behind. We are strongly supporting action on maternal and child health, and the contribution of the EU and its Member States to Canada's initiative will be substantial.
The G8 summit must also send a positive message of support for the UN climate change negotiations. Six months before the Cancún conference, the G8 must show that we remain committed to this process. The EU is implementing its ambitious 20% reduction targets and remains ready to move to 30% if others make equivalent efforts. We have recently demonstrated that this is achievable. We will also stand by our commitment to assist others. The EU has committed to make available 7,2 billion EUR of fast-start funding from 2010-2012.
Now a few words on the G20: The G20 played a crucial role in reacting to the economic and financial crisis, and now we should be acting to get us out of the crisis and towards sustainable growth.
Europe is coming to the two summits here in Canada calling on its major global partners to do what it takes to rebuild confidence in the global economy. Confidence is necessary to generate growth. Confidence is necessary to create jobs. Confidence is necessary to foster lasting prosperity.
Europe is rebuilding confidence through major stability and fiscal consolidation efforts combined with structural reforms. These are necessary. Europe has given a major fiscal stimulus between 2008 and 2010 [4,6% of GDP of stimulus including automatic stabilisers]. This was indispensable. This was above the efforts of most of our partners. Now, Europe has agreed the time has come to start implementing exit strategies. They will be gradual. They will be differentiated and take into account the fiscal space of each country. This will not be a drastic change overnight. But there is no room for more deficit spending. The past few months have shown us that the risk is elsewhere: without fiscal consolidation, we spend our way into a new crisis. But fiscal tightening is not an end in itself. It is a way to restore confidence and growth.
And that is what we have been doing now through our strategy Europe 2020. And that is why it is very important to identify new sources of growth, including in Europe the deepening of the Internal Market, and outside Europe through trade. Trade is a very important way of giving an impulse to growth.
That is why the conclusion of the Doha Development Round would be a significant source of growth and provide a cost-free stimulus to our economies. We are keen to see the G20 to drive a pro-active agenda on trade. Our meeting must go beyond simply reaffirming the intention to conclude the round. We should mandate our ministers to work for concrete progress. I hope that at the G20 in Seoul in November we can take stock of this progress.
These are some of the points that the European Union can bring to what we believe can be a very important moment here in Canada.
Frankly speaking, we have a great opportunity: there are some global public goods that Member States and even the bigger countries in the world cannot achieve alone. They can only be delivered through global governance, like development, trade or financial stability.
When we launched this G20 leaders process there was hope, hope that this time we could achieve rules at global level for financial regulation and supervision. I think it is very important here in Canada to show that this momentum is not going to be lost. I hope that we will not lose the momentum for global governance.