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European Commission


Brussels, 15 June 2012

The European Union at the G20 in Los Cabos, Mexico: Questions and Answers

Since when is the EU a member of the G20?

The European Union has co-initiated the G20 leaders' process in 2008. Under the Lisbon Treaty, the EU is represented at the G20 summits by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

Initially, the G20 (the group of twenty advanced and emerging economies from all corners of the world) started in 1999 as a high-level forum of the ministers of Finance and central bank directors of 19 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States) plus the European Union as a whole.

This year's summit is held from 18 to 19 June in Los Cabos, Mexico, and is chaired by Mexican President Felipe Calderón. In 2013, it is Russia who will host the G20 summit.

For more information on this and previous G20 summits, please visit:

What are the topics on the agenda of this year's G20 summit?

  • Global Economy and Framework for Growth

  • Strengthening the international financial architecture and the financial system, and promoting financial inclusion

  • Development: infrastructure, food security, green growth, Disaster Risk Management

  • Trade, employment, job creation

What action does the EU take to stabilise the euro and to boost growth and jobs?

Europe has made good progress on most of the areas set out in the European Commission's Roadmap to stability and growth:

  • give a decisive response to the problems of Greece

  • enhance the Euro area's backstops against the crisis

  • strengthen the banking system, namely through recapitalisation

  • frontload stability and growth enhancing policies

  • build a more robust and integrated economic governance.

The EU's approach to overcome the crisis is a combination of immediate measures (for instance the unanimous and swift decision of the euro area Member States, the Commission and the ECB to support Spain in its effort to recapitalise its banking sector) together with medium and long-term steps to boost growth through sound public finances, deep structural reforms and targeted investments, based on the EU's growth strategy Europe 2020.

Read more about the EU's crisis response on:

More on Europe 2020, the EU's growth strategy for the coming decade, on:

What is the Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth?

Already in September 2009, G20 leaders agreed in Pittsburgh to "launch a framework that lays out the policies and the way we act together to generate strong, sustainable and balanced global growth". In June 2010, at the Toronto summit, G20 leaders agreed on implementing growth friendly fiscal consolidation plans, differentiated and tailored to national circumstances. At the Seoul summit in 2010, all G20 leaders committed to strengthen multilateral cooperation and pursue the full range of policies conducive to reducing excessive imbalances. They agreed upon a two-step approach to select the countries to be scrutinised and to be submitted to an in-depth analysis. This two-step approach, which was first suggested by the European Commission, has been strongly inspired by the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure that the EU puts in place to address its own internal imbalances. Since 2011, seven countries moved to the in-depth analysis stage of the exercise: the United States, China, Japan, India, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France.

How much does the EU contribute to the increase of IMF resources? And what about the agreed ratification of IMF reforms?

The agreement on increasing the resources of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by USD 430 billion was reached during the IMF Spring Meetings. So far commitments of USD 362 billion have been firmly disclosed. These include euro area and other EU countries' pledges of around USD 200 bn (EUR 150 bn) and USD 40 bn (EUR 30 bn) respectively. This means that the EU will contribute 56% of the total increase.

Regarding the implementation of the 2010 IMF quota and governance reforms by the agreed deadline of the 2012 Annual Meetings in October, the EU is fully on track: 17 EU Member States have already fully ratified the reforms, among them all EU G20 Member States. The process is projected to be completed in the coming months.

Where does Europe stand with its plans for financial regulation?

The EU is well on track to restore confidence of its citizens in the financial sector: the proposal on a common framework for banking crisis management and resolution, for instance, makes Europe the first jurisdiction in the world to be delivering on all the past G20 commitments to strengthen regulation and supervision of the banking sector. On the implementation of Basel III in Europe, the EU ministers of finance have recently reached political agreement. The new European System of Financial Supervision is operational since 1 January 2011. And the European Commission has tabled over 30 pieces of legislation since 2008 to strengthen financial regulation; many of them have been turned into European law already.

What is the situation of the EU's public finances?

Notwithstanding worsening economic prospects in the course of last year, aggregate public finance conditions in the EU and the euro area improved significantly in 2011. On the back of further fiscal consolidation measures combined with an expected gradual economic recovery, budget deficits are expected to continue to decline throughout 2012 and 2013. Government debt-to-GDP ratios are forecast to increase in most EU Member States over the forecast horizon. In the euro area, increasing interest payments and low growth are contributing to push up debt ratios. The debt ratio of the EU is forecast to reach 86% of GDP this year and 87% of GDP in 2013. The corresponding euro-area figures are 92% and 93%.

What is the EU's performance in terms of development aid?

Europe is the world's biggest donor of development aid. The EU spends 0.42% of its gross national income (€53 billion or $73.6 billion) in 2011. This accounts for more than half of the global aid. And despite the economic crisis, the EU remains committed to reach the 0.7% GNI on development aid by 2015.

In the coming months, the European Union's strategic 'Agenda for Change' will be endorsed by the EU Member States, thus confirming the leading role of the EU in setting a comprehensive international development agenda up to and beyond 2015.

Read more on the EU's 'Agenda for Change' on:

What are the EU's commitments in the field of food security?

The EU has always been at the forefront in the area of food security. Not only when there were crisis and maximum media attention, but also on a day-to-day basis in our cooperation with our partner countries, especially those prone to food insecurity. 2012 is the closing year of the successful G8 L'Aquila Food Security Initiative (AFSI). The EU did very well on the L'Aquila commitments. Not only did the EU make the largest pledge – close to USD 4 billion out of the total USD 22 billion, but it has met this pledge in merely 2 years. Moreover, the EU Food Facility, announced by President Barroso at the G8 Summit in Japan in 2008, has helped to feed 50 million people in 50 countries around the world, through over 200 projects.

Read more on the EU's food security policy on:

Where does the EU stand on trade?

Europe remains the world's largest exporter of manufactured goods and services, and the biggest export market for more than one hundred countries. Together, the European Union's 27 members account for 19% of world imports and exports. Compared to last year, EU import from non-member countries grew with 3,5 %. Export from the EU to non-member countries was even 7,5 % higher than last year. Recently, the EU has sounded the alarm on the sharp rise in protectionism across G20 countries (read more on

More on EU trade policy on:

What is trade facilitation?

In the context of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), trade facilitation tries to tackle the negative impact of inefficient and burdensome import, export and transit procedures in the least developed and other developing countries. The most recent EU-commissioned DDA impact study indicates that the trade facilitation could be worth in economic terms as much as the gains from good and services liberalisation together. Improved customs procedures alone have the potential to add 68 billion euro a year in world GDP. Trade facilitation programs already exist: the EU alone provided 3 billion EUR of trade-related assistance and more than 10 billion EUR in total Aid for Trade in 2010.

What about unemployment in the EU?

The unemployment rate in the EU has risen to above 10% in early 2012 (10.3% in the EU in April 2012, 11.0% in the euro area). The European Union complements Member State actions by taking a number of measures to tackle unemployment, including refocusing structural funds, a youth employment initiative, and a major Employment Package. These measures for EU job-rich recovery focus on the demand-side of job creation, setting out ways for Member States to encourage hiring by reducing taxes on labour or supporting business start-ups more. It also identifies the areas with the biggest job potential for the future: the green economy, health services and ICT.

More information about the EU's Employment Package on: IP/12/380

Where can I find more information on the EU at the G20 summit in Los Cabos?

IP/12/598 The European Union at the G20 Summit in Los Cabos (Mexico): "Rebalancing global growth together"

The joint letter of Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy ahead of the G20 summit:

President Barroso's G20 website:

President Van Rompuy's G20 website:

Official G20 website of the Mexican government:

Twitter: and

Video material:


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