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November Summitry

  • October 29th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

globe.jpgConsultations and position-taking are under way in the lead-up to a month that is set to see some re-making of the world map –  both the G20 economic group  and the NATO alliance in the forefront.

VALUE OF MONEY AT THE G20

The value of money, when being paid for with money, is emerging as a theme for the leaders of the main economic powers when they meet as the Group of Twenty (G20) in Seoul, (11-12.11.10).

g20-seoul.jpgFinance Ministers at a preparatory conference in South Korea last weekend exchanged some early shots over which countries are deriving  unwarranted advantages in trade, from keeping the value of their currencies too low.

The United States has been demanding that emergent countries, especially China, desist from regulating their currencies, such that they are markedly under-valued  — as a form of manipulation  to support their exporters.

In  reply America, though losing out in any battle to undercut the currency competition, has been accused of doing the same thing, letting its currency fall because of regulatory practices that are too loose .

The Finance Ministers also agreed on adjustments to the structure of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) organisation, to reflect the greater strength of the emergent countries such as China and India.

They would see a 6% increase in representation on governing bodies, displacing some Western European delegates.

The G20 emerged in 2008 as a useful theatre for urgent world consultations on the global financial crisis.

Its urgent deliberations saw member countries push on with stimulus measures, and a revival of government regulatory measures in financial and money markets.

Commentary from the emergent nations has  foreshadowed some difficulties, amid a general feeling that the economic crisis has subsided; as in this perspective from the Economic Times, in India:

“The sense of emergency is gone. Cooperation has given way to bickering. Quarrels have erupted amongst the G20 as to how best to sustain the ongoing recovery. As a result, growth in the advanced economies remains sluggish and is acting as a drag on the global economy.

“The US blames emerging markets, mainly China, for not doing enough to foster recovery. The US itself faces criticism from some of its own economists, not just from emerging markets. The meeting of finance ministers in Seoul last week failed to resolve the quarrels in the G20 although it may have succeeded in averting a trade war for now.”

The G20 takes in seven larger, advanced economies, 12 emerging economies, and the European Union. Countries include Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the USA and the United Kingdom.

Australia’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, is booked for the Seoul summit, and may also go to Europe a week later for NATO, where the war in Afghanistan will be under some debate. (See EUAustralia Online, “Australians tell NATO …”, 20.10.10; “Australian PM at NATO”, 5.10.10).

RESETTING THE NATO PROGRAM

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has announced it will have a session with its erstwhile chief adversary, Russia, alongside  its coming summit (19-20.11.10) in Lisbon.

nato-symbol.jpgThe gathering of heads of government of the alliance is already set to break new ground, with plans for debate over whether to keep on with expanding the field of operations beyond the traditional European theatre.

The NATO-led campaign in Afghanistan against the Taliban insurgency has shown up some limits in the will and wherewithal of European partners to a very long campaign, far away.

With decidedly disinterested public opinion to consider in most places, governments have been setting time limits on their stay there.

They are considered more likely to approve changes in joint preparedness, in new areas of conflict management, taking in cyber warfare, anti-terrorism, and also anti-missile defences – in the face of possible threats from new strategic players like Iran.

At a highest-level meeting  of the NATO – Russia Council, also in Lisbon, the alliance is expecting to obtain some agreement on sharing in the forthcoming generation of anti-missile defences.

Such an agreement would see the end of suspicions in Moscow about bases to be located in former communist territory in Eastern Europe, with a promised sharing of information and plans.

MOSCOW RADIO

This week the Moscow radio service, Voice of Russia, ran a commentary, on the lines that relations had been developing in a promising way, but with questions till to be asked.

It said:

“Russia-NATO cooperation on Afghanistan will likely receive a new boost in Lisbon. The transit of NATO military cargoes through Russia has worked out well with both sides aware of their responsibilities in the fight against international terrorism and drug trafficking.

“As for the prospect of Russia joining European missile defence …  the idea looks pretty vague as it’s still unclear what kind of threats the future missile defence umbrella is supposed to deter  … Talk of an Iranian or North Korean threat sounds rubbish.

“Meeting with his French and German counterparts in Deauville recently, President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia was ready to consider joint missile defence as a possibility but added that NATO should understand in what form it saw Russia joining it. He made clear Russia could only accept an equal role in the system’s development, saying that Russian officers must not be mere excursionists in the future system’s control centre.”

Reference

Mike Campbell, “20 Finance Ministers Agree To Structural Reforms At The IMF”, Daily Forex, 27.10.10. http://www.dailyforex.com/forex-fundamental-analysis/2010/10/-G20-Finance-Ministers-Agree-To-Structural-Reforms-At-The-IMF/6310, (28.10.10).

NATO, Brussels,  “Statement by NATO Secretary General:’NATO-Russia Council Summit to take place in Lisbon”, 19.10.10. Press Release (2010) 139, http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-8714D56D-E413FCF2/natolive/news_67115.htm?mode=pressrelease, (28.10.10).

Republic of Korea 2010,  G20, Media. http://www.g20.org/Documents/201002_DateforG-20SeoulSummit.pdf, (28.10.10).

T T Ram Mohan, “G-20 accord needs US policy shift”, The Economic Times,  Mumbai, 28.10.10. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/columnists/t-t-ram-mohan/G-20-accord-needs-US-policy-shift/articleshow/6826347.cms, (28.10.10).

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