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Brussels, 29 October 2010

Joint letter of European Commission President Barroso and European Council President Van Rompuy on the upcoming G20 summit and the summits the EU will have with the United States, Ukraine and Russia

In a joint letter to EU Heads of State and Government ahead of the European Council meeting of 28-29 October, Commission President Barroso and European Council President Van Rompuy have outlined their views on the key issues coming up for discussion at the G20 Summit in Seoul, and at summits the EU will have with the United States, Ukraine and Russia.

The letter contains the following key messages:

On the G20 summit in Seoul (11-12 November 2010)

The G20 Summit in Seoul will be a real test of whether the G20 can continue to deliver in its role as the premier global forum for international economic cooperation.

We need a clear common EU position on a set of difficult issues:

  • G20 Framework for strong, balanced and sustainable growth: All G20 countries must recognise that economic imbalances are a common concern, and that all major economies must do their part to achieve rebalancing. If the debate on setting current accounts target came back at the table, we should underline the benefits of our own mechanism based on a limited number of indicators. In addition, we cannot ignore the recent exchange rate issues and should promote our shared interest in a strong and stable international financial system. The G20 should reaffirm its commitment to move towards more market oriented exchange rate systems that reflect underlying economic fundamentals and refrain from competitive devaluation of currencies.

  • Reform of International Financial Institutions. In Seoul all parties should confirm the agreements reached at the G20 ministerial meeting last week in Gyengjou on IMF quota shift and the composition of the Executive Board, and should commit to move forward on the full range of issues, including broader governance reform such as enhanced Ministerial involvement.

  • Financial regulatory reform: the implementation and monitoring of key reforms like the Basel III agreement needs to be ensured. The agenda for financial regulatory reform has not yet been completed. Moreover, the EU should continue to support work in the G20 to explore and develop a financial transaction tax at global level. In the meantime, we need to work on other ways of ensuring that the financial sector makes an equitable contribution, through measures such as a financial activities tax and levies.

  • We fully support the G20 work on development, where an action plan will be adopted in Seoul to bring developing countries into the G20 growth agenda. At the same time, we want to engage emerging economies in a fully-fledged international development framework.

  • The G20 should also give a political impulse to a rapid conclusion of the Doha Round negotiations, taking advantage of a window of opportunity which seems available in the near future. This will require strong political leadership, with clear and operational instructions for negotiators to bridge the gaps and to conclude the Round.

  • Seoul will also be an important opportunity to create political momentum for a successful climate change conference in Cancún. The G20 needs a balanced and realistic position which continues to drive us forward towards the global ambition to limit climate change to 2° Celsius.

  • Finally, we should support G20 work on addressing energy-related issues and fighting corruption.

On the EU-US summit (20 November 2010)

This summit will provide an opportunity to reassert the political importance of the transatlantic relationship. The summit should demonstrate a common will to cooperate for more effective global governance, based on shared values and a commitment to solidarity and predictability. Its main goal should be to send positive joint messages on issues of common interest and to strengthen co-operation in a number areas. It should focus on global issues such as the economic recovery, climate change, security and development issues. We should seek a transatlantic accord on a jobs and growth based agenda, including further cooperation on transatlantic market integration and boosting EU-US trade and co-operation on the development of clean energy technologies. This green jobs and growth agenda would serve both to get the economy back on track - globally and bilaterally - and to combat climate change. Further on climate, we should promote a successful outcome of the Cancún Conference. Finally, the summit should enhance cooperation in countering new security threats and address foreign policy and development challenges.

On the EU-Ukraine summit (22 November 2010)

As regards the summit with Ukraine, particular emphasis will be placed on supporting the reform process, particularly as regards strengthening democratic values, ensuring macro-economic stability, improving the business climate and reforming the energy sector. We are aiming to use the summit to add momentum to the negotiations on the Association Agreement, and especially on the deep and comprehensive Free Trade Area. Last, but not least, our ambition will be to launch the action plan on visas.

On the EU-Russia summit (7 December 2010)

Finally, our summit with Russia in December will be an important opportunity to strengthen EU/Russian engagement. We will follow up on earlier discussions on the modernisation of Russia not least by taking stock on our Partnership for Modernisation. The summit should focus, in particular, on achieving decisive progress on Russia's accession to the WTO, and on some our outstanding bilateral issues, such as trade, investment and cooperation in the energy sector. We should see how we can enhance the efficiency of crisis-management co-operation on the basis of a comprehensive approach to security issues, including frozen conflicts. We should also register progress on the visa dialogue entering a fully operational phase through the elaboration of Common Steps. As always, the summit will be an opportunity to openly address questions related to human rights and the rule of law.

Further information

Read the joint letter of Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy on G20 and other summits here

President Barroso's homepage:

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