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A formula for Europe
The Camp David summit focused on the economic crisis and the euro
The “great economic leaders” at Europe’s “deathbed”, affected by the crisis; it’s the impression made by the G8 at Camp David and by the ensuing Nato summit in Chicago, with American president Barack Obama yearning to share with Europe what hasn’t been done in the United States: to keep under control financial markets and public budgets to curb the spread of dangerous recessions. The ball is now in “Old Europe”’s court, with the informal and interlocutory European Council of May 23, followed, on May 30, by the publication of the financial “recommendations” of the Commissions to Member States, in preparation for the EU27 end-of-June Council, where new and important decisions on governance will be taken.
Re-launching investments. “All G8 leaders agree on the need to take measures to step up confidence and encourage growth, in order to respond to economic challenges” at global level. Commission president José Manuel Barroso, attended the G8 with his colleague Herman Van Rompuy, president of the EU Council, in his capacities as observer and of “associated partner”. The summit, that underwent long preparations in European chancelleries (of the G8 are members also Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy) and in Community seats, notably served to provide a univocal interpretative key, namely, in order to overcome the standstill it’s important to give renewed thrust to investments, research, enterprises, exchanges, employment. The debate held on the other side of the Atlantic ocean focused on the themes proposed by European and other leaders from the United States, Canada, Japan and Russia) who listened, approved, and determinedly gave their encouragement.
Summit in Brussels. After a further passage in Strasbourg for a debate on economic themes in the seat of the European Parliament (May 22), Brussels takes the centre stage. Measures to promote growth and employment, project bond and Eurobond, governance and rules, “European semester”, role of the ECB: on the agenda of the informal meeting of the 27 Heads of Government and State are included a set of items that the president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, summarized in a letter to national leaders. “The reason I called this meeting is very simple. A lot has happened since we last met at the beginning of March and this is the appropriate time to hold an open and informal exchange of views among us on how we can boost growth and jobs across the EU”. The debate is set to focus on the conclusions of the G8 of May 18-19. “The idea is not at this stage to draw conclusions or take decisions but to prepare politically for decisions at the June European Council” of June 28-29. The summit will first focus on a debate between the 27 presidents or the premier and the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz (DE), followed by a business dinner and the conclusive remarks by Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso.
The thoughts of Obama. Thus the G8 marks the pace of Europe. The world is growing smaller, economies are increasingly interdependent and also the political realm is increasingly aware of the need for authoritative virtuous guidelines for all. Also for this reason the G20 that will take place in Mexico in mid June takes on a new significance. Development prospects cannot be assessed without the presence of important emerging countries, from China to Brazil, from India to Saudi Arabia, extending to South Africa. Indications from Camp David, summarized in the final statement are rather telling: “Our imperative is to promote growth and jobs”, write Western world leaders who urge euro zone countries to undertake “specific measures to strengthen growth”; so as to “minimize contagion risks” said US president Barack Obama, a problem that he feels at heart, especially in view of the upcoming presidential elections next November.
Confidence, reforms. Europe’s formula, proposed by European leaders, (despite predictable distinctions made by German chancellor Angela Merkel), includes rigorous public budgets sided by investments (the question of project bonds was addressed in this framework) with the purpose of “stepping up confidence and recovery” without overlooking “reforms that will increase productivity and demand”. Special emphasis was given to “investments for research and in the field of infrastructures”, also with the involvement of the private sector. The focus is therefore on Greece, with the unanimous hope that Athens will remain in the Euro zone, respecting the commitments taken” with the EU, ECB and IFM. It is a strong message to electors and politicians of the Mediterranean. Other issues on the agenda of the G8 – energy, climate change, food safety, “Arab Spring” – were given minor attention compared to the crisis.