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G7 Summit in Brussels, 4 – 5 June 2014: Background note and facts about the EU's role and actions

European Commission - MEMO/14/392   03/06/2014

Other available languages: none

European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 3 June 2014

G7 Summit in Brussels, 4 – 5 June 2014: Background note and facts about the EU's role and actions

The Brussels G7 Summit will take place on 4-5 June. At their meeting in The Hague on 24 March, the G7 at leaders' level (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission decided not to participate in the planned G8 Summit in Sochi (Russia) as a reaction to the Russian Federation's violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Instead, they decided to meet in Brussels in the G7 format on the same days.

The Brussels G7 Summit will be hosted by the European Union. The European Union is represented by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

At the Brussels Summit, Leaders will discuss the situation in Ukraine and the relations with Russia as well as other foreign policy issues, the global economy, energy, climate change and development.

1. Foreign policy

As the first topic, the G7 leaders are expected to discuss foreign policy challenges at their working dinner on the evening of 4 June. The leaders will focus their discussions on Ukraine and Russia but they may also address the latest developments on other foreign policy issues.

In the last months and following the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis, the G7 leaders have issued several declarations condemning the Russian Federation's clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine (see statement of 3 March), condemning the illegal referendum and the illegal attempt by Russia to annex Crimea in contravention of international law and specific international obligations (see The Hague Declaration following the G7 meeting on 24 March) and expressing their deep concern at the continued efforts by separatists backed by Russia to destabilise eastern Ukraine (see statement of 26 April).

At the Brussels G7 Summit leaders are expected to discuss the latest developments following the presidential elections held in Ukraine on 25 May. They will discuss the continued work to support Ukraine's economic and political reforms as well as their continued readiness to intensify targeted sanctions and to impose further costs on Russia should events so require.

Role of the EU: In response to Russian actions so far, the EU has cancelled the next EU-Russia summit and member states' regular bilateral summits with Russia have also been annulled. Negotiations on visa matters and a new agreement with Russia have been suspended. The EU has also targeted 61 persons responsible for actions that threaten or undermine the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine with asset freezes and bans from entering the EU. Two confiscated entities in Crimea and Sevastopol are also subject to an asset freeze.

At the same time the EU continues to roll out a €11 billion support package to Ukraine including a €1.6 billion of Macro-financial assistance to contribute to covering Ukraine's urgent balance-of-payments needs (of which the first €100 million were paid out on 20 May) and a €365m state-building contract to help the country's transition and boost the role of civil society, promoting democratic reforms and inclusive socio-economic development.

On 21 March the political chapters of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement were signed. The EU remains committed to signing the full agreement including the deep and comprehensive free trade area. Even ahead of the signature of the provisions on free trade, temporary EU trade preferences for Ukraine apply since 23 April. More information on the EU support for Ukraine: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-14-279_en.htm

2. Global economy

The first working session of the second day, Thursday 5 June, is on the global economic outlook. The discussions are expected to focus on the improved prospect of global growth and how to tackle the remaining serious challenges such as high unemployment. Leaders will also address trade issues including the active and ambitious trade agenda of the G7 members with a number of bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral negotiations ongoing.

Supporting growth and jobs remains the key priority for the G7 members and the recovery is strengthening/continuing. Leaders are expected to call for continued and sustained growth in order to bring down unemployment, particularly among young people and the long term unemployed. Structural reforms, as well as completing key aspects of core financial reforms, such as building resilient financial institutions and ending too-big-to-fail, remain important in order to achieve this common objective.

Role of the EU: The economic and financial situation in the euro area has stabilised since last summer thanks to the determined and comprehensive crisis response by the EU. There are genuine signs that a more lasting recovery is now taking place in the EU and the euro area. GDP is expected to grow by 1.6% in the EU this year, before speeding up to 2% in 2015. Unemployment rates have stopped increasing since mid-2013 in most of the EU while remaining, however, at unacceptably high levels.

Leaders are expected to also address and reaffirm their commitment to tackling tax avoidance, including through the G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Action Plan, and tax evasion, where the aim is to focus on the rapid implementation of the new single global standard for automatic exchange of tax information.

Role of the EU: thanks to its experience and pioneering role on tax transparency and tax good governance the EU and its member states play a central role in fora like the G7/G8, the G20 and the OECD to ensure fairness and transparency in taxation at global level. More on the EU's policy to fight tax fraud and tax avoidance: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/tax_fraud_evasion/index_en.htm

Under the trade and investment umbrella, leaders are expected to reconfirm their commitment to fight protectionism. The leaders will also take stock of the WTO negotiations and prioritise the swift implementation of the Bali package and continue the current Aid for Trade commitments.

Role of the EU: Together, the European Union's 28 members account for 19% of world imports and exports. Trade remains an important driver for growth and jobs. That is why it is a key priority for the EU to open up more market opportunities for European business by negotiating new Free Trade Agreements with key partners, in particular the G7 members Canada, Japan and the United States). If the EU was to complete all its current free trade talks tomorrow, it could add 2.2% to the EU's GDP or €275 billion. In terms of employment, these agreements could generate 2.2 million new jobs or additional 1% of the EU total workforce.

EU trade policy aims to working to:

  • create a global system for fair and open trade, through active support to the agreements and obligations overseen by the WTO; the focus is on implementing the Bali Trade Facilitation Agreement and on developing a future WTO work programme.

  • further open up markets with key partner countries – cf. the ongoing trade negotiations with the USA (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), , Canada (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement), Japan (Free Trade Agreement) and China (EU-China Investment Agreement). Free Trade Agreements were recently concluded with Singapore and are under negotiation with Malaysia and Vietnam. Various Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements are concluded or are under negotiation with several countries in the EU's Southern and Eastern Neighbourhood, including Ukraine;

  • lift barriers, open markets and ensure that trade is fair;

  • ensure that trade is a force for sustainable development, opening EU markets to all imports from the world's poorest countries and supporting developing countries to build the capacity to take advantage of trade.

More info and key figures on EU trade policy on http://ec.europa.eu/trade/

3. Energy and climate change

The discussions on energy and climate change at the second working session on Thursday 5 June will be two-fold.

First, leaders will discuss energy security in light of the Ukraine crisis and building on the Rome G7 energy initiative for energy security agreed by the G7 energy ministers on 6 May (see statement of 6 May). Leaders will be looking at identifying and implementing concrete domestic policies separately and together to build a more competitive, diversified, resilient and low-carbon energy system. Focus will be put on diversification of routes and sources, upgrading of energy infrastructure, development of indigenous resources and energy efficiency, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Clean technology is another important element to this.

Role of the EU: The EU has continuously sought to improve the energy security of its Member States through a variety of policies and actions. Most recently, in response to the crisis in Ukraine and the request by the European Council, the European Commission has tabled a European Energy Security Strategy (see the press release and the MEMO) as a basis for further discussion with Heads of States and Governments at the June European Council. The G7 Energy summit (Rome 5-6 May 2014) has built upon the Commission’s efforts to develop energy emergency plans for winter 2014-2015 at regional level, to exchange best practices for assessing energy security vulnerabilities, for IEA to prepare options for individual and collective actions of G7 in the field of gas security, and to supply technical assistance and facilitate exchanges with Ukraine and other European countries seeking to develop indigenous hydrocarbons, renewables and improve energy efficiency.

On climate change, leaders are expected to reaffirm their commitment to limit effectively the increase in global temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and express their strong determination to adopt in 2015 a global agreement, ahead of the Climate Summit of the United Nations General Assembly in September and the upcoming COP2015 in Paris.

Role of the EU: the EU continues to pioneer global climate action thanks to its ambitious and legally binding framework. It remains fully committed to a multilateral legally binding approach to tackling climate change and to reshape the global climate agenda, working towards the UN climate conferences in Lima in 2014 and in Paris in 2015. The EU is on track with its domestic preparations on an ambitious 2030 climate and energy framework. The European Heads of State and Government agreed to take final decision on this as quickly as possible, and no later than October 2014, which means that the EU would be ready for the first quarter of 2015 at the latest.

Significant financial resources are mobilised to help developing countries deal adequately with climate change, with substantial co-benefits in terms of energy security. For example, the EU has allocated 400 million EUR to promote access to sustainable energy for all (SE4ALL) in Africa, building on the ACP-EU Energy Facility and the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund.

The European Union is the largest contributor of climate finance to developing countries and the world's biggest aid donor, collectively providing more than half of global official development assistance (ODA). The EU and its Member States pledged €7.2 billion in "fast start" climate finance over 2010-2012, almost one-third of the total pledged by developed countries. Despite difficult economic circumstances, the EU met and even surpassed its commitment by providing €7.34 bn in fast start finance. This money is being spent on concrete climate actions in developing countries.

Climate change is being increasingly integrated into the EU's broader development strategy. 20% of the resources dedicated to international development aid from the new multiannual financial framework of the EU as well as 20% of the 11th European Development Fund for the period 2014-2020 are to be allocated to climate-relevant actions.

More info on 2030 climate and energy goals for a competitive, secure and low-carbon EU economy.

4. Development

Finally, the Thursday 5 June working lunch will be devoted to development issues with a view to taking stock of progress and reconfirming previous G7 commitments, such as the Muskoka initiative on maternal, new-born and child health, the GAVI alliance (global alliance for vaccines and immunization), the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, the Deauville Partnership, tax evasion and illicit flows of finance.

Role of the EU: Despite the economic and financial context in Europe, the EU remains the biggest donor in the world – more than half of global development aid is provided by Europeans: Over the last ten years, the EU and its Member States have committed around 45 billion euro per year to development aid. This support has paid off: since 2004, the EU has contributed to the enrolment of more than 13 million boys and girls at school, to the vaccination of around 18 million children and to providing more than 70 million people with access to water around the world.

Food security remains in the centre of the EU's development policy. Since 2013, the EU has stepped up its efforts to fight against world hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition, with a new policy framework that delivers on the EU's commitment to help partner countries reduce stunting amongst children under five years of age by at least 10% (7 million) by 2025. Under-nutrition will also be contained through investment in rural development, sustainable agriculture, public health, water and sanitation, social protection and education.

On 20 May, the EU announced that it will provide €25 million per year in the period 2014-2020 to fund vaccines and immunisation programmes worldwide through the GAVI alliance – more than double than previously committed. Since 2003, the European Commission has committed over €83 million to the GAVI Alliance, coming in part from the Development Co-operation Instrument (DCI) and in part from the European Development Fund (EDF). Thanks to donors like the EU, close to half a billion children have been immunised since 2000, resulting in 6 million lives saved.

The leaders will also discuss the post-2015 agenda aiming at completing unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals. This would include a focus on eradications of extreme poverty, promoting development and on balancing environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainable development, including climate change.

Role of the EU: the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) remain at the core of EU development policy and actions. The EU has implemented the 1 billion euro MDG initiative, launched at the 2010 MDG summit, targeting the most off-track MDGs: hunger, maternal health, child mortality and access to water and sanitation. The EU supports nearly 70 actions in 46 countries, with a focus on Least Developed Countries.

On 2 June 2014, the European Commission adopted a Communication to contribute to the EU position in international negotiations on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as the follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The proposal calls for tackling issues of global concern such as poverty, inequality, health, food security, education, gender equality, water and sanitation, sustainable energy, decent work, inclusive and sustainable growth, sustainable consumption and production, biodiversity, land degradation and sea and oceans. It will now be discussed by Council of Ministers and the European Parliament and the outcome will guide the EU's position in the negotiations at UN level.

5. The EU as G7/G8 member

The European Union is a full member in G7/G8 Summits and is represented by the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission.

In 1977, representatives of the then European Community began participating in the London Summit. The first G7 summit was held two years earlier, in 1975 in Rambouillet (France). Originally, the EU had a limited role to those areas in which it had exclusive competences, but the EU’s role has grown with time. The European Commission was gradually included in all political discussions on the summit agenda and took part in all summit working sessions, as of the Ottawa Summit (1981). Commission President Barroso, who attended the G8 for the first time in Gleneagles in 2005, is participating for the 10th time, while Council President Van Rompuy has been attending the G8/G7 since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty (2009).

The Commission and the European Council have all the responsibilities of membership. The Summit Communiqué is politically binding for all G7 members.

The Presidency will continue in its rotation to Germany in 2015 (Summit 4-5 May 2015), Japan in 2016, Italy in 2017, Canada in 2018, France in 2019, and the USA in 2020.

For more information

The European Union at the G7 Summit in Brussels on 4-5 June 2014 (IP/14/628)

Useful links

G7 2014 section on President Van Rompuy's website:

http://www.european-council.europa.eu/g7brussels

G7/G8/G20 section on President Barroso's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/president/g20/index_en.htm

President Van Rompuy on Twitter and on Facebook

President Barroso on Twitter

Full video coverage of the G7 will be available for download in broadcast quality from the Council TV newsroom www.eucouncil.tv, and live events will be broadcast on Europe by Satellite (http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/ebs/schedule.cfm)

Photos covering the event will be available for download in high resolution from the Council Photo Library http://www.consilium.europa.eu/photo and the European Commission's audiovisual services (http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/photo/index.cfm).


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