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13 Jul, 2009 09:32

ROAR: “A gleam of optimism” at the G8 summit

ROAR: “A gleam of optimism” at the G8 summit

The world economic crisis can only be overcome with the efforts of many countries, but as the G8 expands its format, it becomes more difficult for politicians to take decisions.

The Russian media have noted that among the main topics that were discussed at the G8 summit in Italy the most important was the world economic crisis. However, many analysts think that the enlargement of the G8 is itself a serious problem.

“So far it is unclear if the world economy has reached the bottom,” Russian TV Channel One reported. “The common understanding is that one should not relax.”

The recession will last long and every country taken separately should take steps so that “this recession does not turn into a depression,” the channel said.

The same source also quoted Russian President Dmitry Medvedev as saying that the G8 spoke in favor of the creation of new financial institutes, reforming the International Monetary Fund and strengthening the role of the United Nations in the world.

“Many have seen here the signs of the change in the American position,” the channel reported, adding, “The previous head of the US did not always say complimentary words about the role of the UN. The new president does not agree with him.”

Medvedev believes that the format of the G8 could change, Channel One said, “but so far it is unclear how many new members will be affiliated to the elite club,” it added.

Many political analysts also think that the G8 will have to enlarge in the future. German political scientist Alexander Rahr told Rossiyskaya Gazeta that the summit in Italy was “usual”, but it showed that the G8 “has become a certain government of the world.”

It is efficient enough “in taking strategic decisions on global challenges and topics that the United Nations could not take for different reasons,” he said.

At the same time, the G8 is “[increasingly becoming] the G20,” Rahr believes. “Leaders of the G8 already do not cope with the tasks that the modern world is facing,” he said.

One of these tasks is the problem of the world financial crisis. “The main ideas in this regard were approved during the G20 summit in London in April,” Rahr said.

The participants of the summit in Italy discussed “creating a global international structure which could control a speculative capital on financial markets and to impose a mechanism of the so-called early warning about future excesses,” the political scientist added.

Rahr stressed that the leading states are working together solving this problem. “From this point of view, it is interesting to see how the cooperation will be developing in the near future,” he said.

Izvestia wrote that the Russian president called the summit “a unique one” because for the first time almost 30 countries joined the eight states. “This format, of course, has led to the storm of discussions over the format of the future summits,” the paper said.

“The trend is evident,” Izvestia quoted the Russian president as saying. “The G8 plus five countries [China, India, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa] are working efficiently.”

“The five developing countries began to take part in the discussions some years ago,” Izvestia wrote. “Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was invited to the meeting [in Italy],” it added.

“That means that the G8 is gradually moving in the direction of its own globalization,” Izvestia said.” But what about the G20?" The paper said that, even when the crisis is over, the G20 will not disappear, and quoted Medvedev as saying: “Maybe, we will meet more seldom, not two or three times a year.”

The Russian media noted that the world leaders have become more optimistic about overcoming the world crisis. “However, as Dmitry Medvedev recognized at the last news conference, it is only a gleam of optimism,” Izvestia wrote.

“It has been decided that one should not relax and implementing the national anti-crisis programs should be continued,” the paper wrote. Russia insists on a large-scale reformation of international financial institutes, strengthening the role of the developing countries, creating a more balanced and fair currency system, which should not be based on just one reserve currency, Izvestia said.

The summit made a step in this direction. Medvedev demonstrated in Italy a souvenir coin called the United Future World Currency and said that it was a symbol of “our unity, our desire to solve together such problems.” The paper observed that “It seems that the US President was not as pleased with such a souvenir as Dmitry Medvedev.”

Vesti TV channel has described the G8 summit in Italy as a meeting of the biggest number of participants ever. “Another topic for a discussion has been added – what format should the summit take in the future?” the channel said. “The eight countries are currently not sufficient neither for world politics nor the economy.”

“On the other hand, it will be difficult for 20 countries to come to a common decision,” Vesti noted. “So the variant of ‘Eight plus Five’ was chosen: the developed countries and developing ones.”

“However, no ultimate decision in this regard has been made,” the channel reported, stressing, “So, we will know next year what the next summit will look like.”

Russian business newspaper RBC daily wrote that “the de facto enlargement of the G8 has become the main result of the summit.” Some analysts believe that it will lead to a situation in the future when “countries will not be able to come to an agreement with each other, and the business meetings of ‘those who decide the fate of the world’ will turn into elite picnics,” the paper said.

Yury Krupnov, the chairman of the observing board of the Institute of Demography, Migration and Regional development told RBC daily: “The enlargement of the G8 is determined by the fact that it is ceasing to fulfill its functions.” The chairman, however, believes that because of the enlargement, the G8 could also cease to be “an elite club”.

As for the G20, in the future it “will look like a consultative organ – for people to gather, speak and part,” Krupnov said.

Political scientist Dmitry Yevstafyev told the same source that the process of the enlargement of the G8 could not be stopped. “The format of the G7 was exhausted, and the format of G8 at this stage has not been formed,” he said.

However, as the formats become less clear, the summits will increasingly look like parties, Yevstafyev noted. “On the one hand, one wants to save the exclusive character of the meetings,” he said. “But it is not clear how one could solve the world’s economic and political problems without India, China and Brazil.”

Sergey Borisov, RT