Blair & Sarkozy Conference: EuroConomics?

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UPDATE 8th January, 2009:  See latest post on Blair/Sarkozy Paris Economic Conference

Update 17th December, 2008: Blair praises Sarkozy, a ‘Time’ runner-up as “Person of The Year”. (Time!? They voted for Putin last year! At least he had a record, if iffy.  But Big O is the man for them, as for the rest of the ObamaManiacs. Wonder why they’re doing it now before he’s done anything!?)

Update 24th November: British minister to Italy-G8 not threatened. This is without reference to the Sarkozy/Blair meeting prior to Obama taking office. Changing dynamics?

sarkozy_bush_washingtong20nov08

  • Are Blair & Sarkozy saying there is no time to waste and that the world cannot wait until the next G20 expected in April? It seems they had pushed U.S. President Bush to host the Washington summit and had hoped for decisions on greater financial market regulation, global alignment of accounting standards, and a bigger role for the IMF. Instead, leaders from rich and developing nations agreed on broad themes to tackle the financial crisis, and to keep talking.
  • Washington’s ‘hackles are raised’ over Sarkozy’s meeting. So says The International Herald Tribune, particularly since he had not mentioned it in Washington. Their irritation may be exacerbated by word that before his presidential inauguration President-Elect Obama, will have a seat at the Sarkozy/Blair New Entente-Cordiale. Meanwhile the world’s hackles too are somewhat raised over the present global financial position. America should consider this – there could be more unpalatable alternative economic power bases than the EU.

Comment at end

19th November, 2008

Blair & Sarkozy to co-host financial forum

Blair was quoted in the French presidency’s statement as saying the conference comes at a moment “when we are trying to define a new model of capitalism and reflect on the values that will help us adapt to globalization.”

Sarkozy:More than ever, we should show that we can propose concrete solutions.”

Now this IS intriguing. Another economic post-mortem or the labour pains of a new economic model baby?

tblairnicolassarkozy_economics_summit_jan09

Blair: "So, Nicolas, do you think we can help the world out of its present economic mess?" Sarkozy: "Peut-être, Tonee. But, first, can I have a lower chair?"

“What?” I hear you ask, “Didn’t we just have a summit on the world’s economic situation”.

Yes, we did, (to coin a phrase). It was the G20 in Washington and brought together heads of states of the G8 plus emerging markets. (See attendees here.)

“So, why …” I hear you insist (full of questions, aren’t you?) “… why do we need another one?”

And for that, the answers are multiple choice. Here are a few options in statement form, to help you think it through.

1. Since Mr Bush, and not Mr Obama led the Washington get-together, that was more of a sounding board for all, than a decision-making forum.

2. Since many countries’ governments are not yet sure which way to jump in this present economic meltdown, it was, well … more of a sounding board than a decision-making forum.

3. Since the balance of power is clearly, by common agreement, shifting eastwards, it was more of a sounding board than a decision …

4. Since there may be external organisations, such as Sharia Finance involved in future economics rather than just nations’ wealth, riches, reserves, sovereign wealth funds and today’s leading currencies it was more of a sounding …

5. Since the EU might be starting to think of itself and/or the euro as more stable and a more powerful future player on the scene, it was more of a …

6. Since “values” were the elephant in the room at Washington but will now be spotlit in a blinding fashion, never before having been considered as of mutual interest in economic terms, it was more …

So, you get my drift.

g20pic

The "sounding board" G20 meeting in Washington over the weekend, 15th-17th November, 2008

Last weekend’s G20 at Washington was a Sounding Board. A dress rehearsal for the next G20 meeting expected by April 30th. Mr Obama will then attend, and as the new boy in school, having been marked “present, Sir” on the school roll for at least 100 days he will be in a position, no doubt, to tell the others how to fix it!

Providing, that is, he has not been thrown off course by having to cope with the other “Big O” in the meantime.

THE UNFINISHED BUSINESS

And there are a few other areas of unfinished business for Europeans to see to.

1. The Lisbon Treaty. If The Lisbon Treaty ‘No’ voters – Ireland – can be persuaded that they, the EU and the world’s economy have much to gain and little to lose by changing their minds, it may be time for a re-visiting of this issue.

Any new decision can only go one way … or the other.

blairsarkozyg82007

And then?

2. The euro for Britain? And the cat thrown amongst the proverbial … the British Conservatives, whose traditional fault-line is Europe. All this in the run-up to a British general election. Now this would really panic the Tories.

sarkozyblair

And then?

3. A new Permanent President for the EU?

This as yet unknown individual might … just might end up wielding enormous financial and political power on behalf of the European continent of 27 countries at a time of major economic flux.

tbalirsarkozyparisdonorconference

So, who might that be?

tblair_sarkozy_dance

Your guess is as good as mine.

WHAT DOES THE BLAIR/SARKOZY AMITY ON JANUARY 8TH/9TH HOPE TO ACHIEVE?

The meeting organised by Messrs Blair & Sarkozy will mean to be more than a sounding board although it will not make decisions, according to M Sarkozy. It will wish to put down a few markers for the next G20, expected within five months, a long time in today’s fast-moving economic climate (and tentatively to be held in London). And Sarkozy and Blair are said to have been disappointed that decisions or even meaningful discussion on such as financial market regulation, common accounting standards, and the role of the IMF did not figure prominently if at all at the Washington meeting. This Franco/British New Year get-together may well be agenda-setting for the partial benefit of Mr Obama when he takes the US presidential reins on January 20th. And even, perhaps, to assist Mr Brown’s economic remedies gain further support.

So, tempted as you may be to see this as being set up as an alternative to any decisions made in Washington or in the Obama Oval Office, it may well be nothing of the sort. It may be part of a process (Mr Blair likes processes as this writer reminds us). It is, possibly, a process to help ensure that western free-market philosophy is not killed off by trepidation over its long-term viability.

M Sarkozy, France’s President and a recent (temporary & rotating) president of the EU Commission, is quite entitled to set up his own forum on this earth-moving concern.  And Mr Blair, recent Prime Minister of Great Britain, is considered an astute mover-and-shaker on both the political and business scenes.

Those attending are unlikely to be the top level political leaders such as attended Mr Bush’s Washington meeting. But I will be surprised not to spot any up and coming, semi-prominent British ministers or even opposition politicians in a positioning exercise at this gathering; or even just to learn at the feet of Blair & Sarkozy.

The meeting, dubbed by some “New world: values, development and regulation” would include according to this Reuters report, “international political leaders” as well as economists such as Nobel Prize winners Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen.

We might expect even more financial experts and various representative cultural speakers. We might even hear some suggestions, not as yet made, regarding the pooling of resources and including presently excluded members of the world community. There may be more than a few interesting proposals being placed right now on the desks of these two Europeans.

I would expect the debate to include some of the following items:

  • The place of the EU in the coming new financial world
  • The relationship between the euro and non-euro EU countries
  • The need for looking at a whole new system of sustainable economics
  • The balance between reforming the present system and throwing out the baby with the grubby bath water
  • The future powers of the International Monetary Fund
  • The place in such a new system for Sharia Finance
  • The West’s dependency on oil and gas from Russia and the East
  • New financial and/or political relationships and alliances between such as China/India/Europe

Following on from last weekend’s meeting in Washington, this very event is bound to raise a few political eyebrows.


LINKS ON THIS

Read European media’s questions after last weekend’s G20 summit in Washington

A Google search today for “G20 summit” brings up these pages

AP excerpt on Blair/Sarkozy meeting:

The January meeting “is totally unconnected from the cycle of conferences known as the ‘G20’ … It’s not an operational and decision-making colloquium like the G20s are.”

Sarkozy and Blair had pushed U.S. President George W. Bush to host the Washington summit and had hoped for decisions on greater financial market regulation, global alignment of accounting standards, and a bigger role for the International Monetary Fund. Instead, leaders from rich and developing nations agreed on broad themes to tackle the financial crisis, and to keep talking.


BBC report on Blair/Sarkozy Conference

Former prime minister Tony Blair will co-host a financial forum with French President Nicolas Sarkozy to look for “concrete solutions” to the downturn.

Mr Blair said the Paris event was being staged “to define a new model of capitalism” during the economic crisis.

Mr Sarkozy said the forum, planned for 8 to 9 January, would look for answers at “a crucial period for our economies and our social organisations”.

Senior policy-makers and bosses will be joined by ministers and experts.

Less formal

The Paris conference is billed as “an opportunity to share ideas, experiences but also put forward concrete solutions which can be shared on a global scale”.

Mr Blair’s spokesman told the BBC it would be a moment for debating long-term questions.

The organisers say the event was not a parallel process to the G20 summit held in Washington last weekend.

Mr Blair’s spokesman said: “This is an opportunity for a broader policy discussion on the important challenges, such as the environment, that our world will be facing in the coming 10 to 15 years”.

Organisers hope the policy conference will allow “the new generation of political leaders to reflect on how they will tackle the major challenges of tomorrow” by bringing together both current senior policy-makers, heads of international institutions but also younger ministers and experts.

Mr Blair said the Paris summit would help to “define a new model of capitalism” and “reflect on the values that will help us adapt to globalisation.”

Mr Sarkozy said the meeting was meant to be complementary to the Washington summit, though less formal.

He said: “We are living in a crucial period for our economies and our social organisations.

“More than ever, we should show that we can propose concrete solutions.”

A follow-up to the G20 summit is scheduled in early 2009, tentatively in London, after Barrack Obama begins his term as US President.


Khaleej Times’s downbeat take on the recent G20:

European leaders led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy who played a pivotal role in convening the meeting in Washington had promised a summit that would not only arrest the current freefall of markets around the world but prevent future disasters.

Many had hoped that the G-20 summit would break new ground and aggressively challenge the strongly antiregulatory, free-market precepts that have dominated the US policy in recent years.

In the end, it was little more than a very expensive photo op and a chance for the world leaders to touch the base as it were since this unprecedented economic crisis hit us all.

There were no takers for the proposed new regulatory structures, which have been championed by Sarkozy and backed by others. British Prime Minister Brown’s call for a larger coordinated global stimulus package also fell on deaf ears. So perhaps it’s only apt that the depressed markets including those in the UAE responded to the Washington summit with great dismay.


ATTENDING NATIONS AT LAST WEEK’S G20

Members of the G20 include the Group of Eight richest countries – the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Italy, Britain, Canada and Russia. Other members are the European Union, Argentine, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey. Spain & the Netherlands were also in attendance in their own right.

G20 REPORTS

g20leaderswashington15nov08

CATASTROPHE AVERTED? The New Statesman with opinions on this meeting

The leaders of the rich countries went to Washington to save the world from sliding into deep recession. Here key politicians, commentators and economists whether they succeeded and what we should expect, and hope for, in the coming weeks.

ARE AMERICA & EUROPE SQUARING UP FOR AN ECONOMIC FIGHT? Financial Times excerpt:

One by one, as they attended this weekend’s Washington summit, the leaders of big emerging economies made a single point again and again: no longer will the world’s financial rules be set just by a club of rich countries.

That the summit was of the group of 20 emerging and industrialised countries, not the G7 or G8, was itself an indication of the shift in power – as was the fact that the future meetings in the process will also occur in the G20 format.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said: “A new world economic order is developing that is more dynamic and more inclusive than any we have yet seen.”

Moreover, the summit agreed to throw open to emerging economies the membership of all the key groups that frame the rules of global finance.

“We are talking about the G20 because the G8 doesn’t have any more reason to exist,” said Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s president.

“In other words, the emerging economies have to be taken into consideration in today’s globalised world.”

Referring to bodies such as the IMF and the World Bank, the summit conclusions said these “must be comprehensively reformed. Emerging and developing economies should have greater voice and representation in these institutions”.

Such a step in effect reopens the vexed question of countries’ shareholding “quotas” in the IMF.

A senior US official said: “It is going to be a painful fight. The Europeans are significantly over-represented.”

He said it would not be possible to increase the weight of emerging economies without reducing European representation.

“I hope the next administration shares our view,” he added.


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6 Responses to “Blair & Sarkozy Conference: EuroConomics?”

  1. George Bush On Best Political Blogs » Blair & Sarkozy Conference: EuroConomics? Says:

    […] Blair & Sarkozy Conference: EuroConomics? Home Comment at end 19th November, 2008 Blair & Sarkozy to co-host financial forum Blair was quoted in the French presidency’s statement as saying the conference comes at a moment “when we are trying to define a new model of capitalism and reflect on the values that will help us adapt to globalization.” Sarkozy:“More than ever, we should show that we can propose concrete solutions.” Now this IS intriguing. Another economic post-mortem or the labour pains of a new economic model baby? […]

  2. Fashion News » Blog Archive » Blair & Sarkozy Conference: EuroConomics? Says:

    […] Tony Blair created an interesting post today on Blair & Sarkozy Conference: EuroConomics?Here’s a short outline […]

  3. Grundoon Says:

    Hopefully the sounding board you cite won’t turn out to be a diving board, landing us in even deeper water than we are in already.

  4. US Denies Spying on Tony Blair: US & UK “don’t snoop” « Tony Blair Says:

    […] The Sarah Obama Tape on Obama’s Birthpla US Denies Spying on Tony Blair: US & Video: Democrat lawyer asks Obama to pro The Impossible Dream – This is My Quest Ayman al-Zawahiri to Obama, the “House S View Blair videos 1994 – First Blair Speech to Conference Barclays Sinks In The Saudi Sands (OK – Suicide Bombers – Pregnant? Autopsy? We Blair & Sarkozy Conference: EuroCono […]

  5. Blair & Sarkozy host Paris Financial Conference « Tony Blair Says:

    […] involved in the ongoing Gaza/Israel conflict I wondered if this conference, to which I referred here in November, might have been postponed. But no. Politics and economics go on. So Blair & Sarkozy are […]

  6. BBC: Sarkozy says “Non, mon ami” to Blair for EU President « Tony Blair Says:

    […] In November 2008 Blair & Sarkozy got it together on ‘Euroconomics’. […]

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