The numbers after the G: 7-8-13?

June 4, 2007

The G-8 is meeting in Germany tomorrow and the day after. Violent clashes have already taken place this week-end in Rostok, nearby, casting a shadow on that delicate event.

The FT has an interesting analysis of one of the underlying motives of this blog – the rise of new economic powers and how the rich countries and their institutions deal with them; here applied to the G8. It announces:

“German chancellor Angela Merkel, already struggling to avoid failure on climate change, is facing a new setback at the summit on her plans for closer ties with emerging economies, the Financial Times has learnt.

Several countries, including Japan, India and Brazil, have objected to her plan for the industrialised nations’ summit, starting on Wednesday on Germany’s Baltic coast, to kick-start a formal relationship between the G8 and a group of five emerging countries – China, India, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico.

(…)

Germany is against giving the five countries full G8 membership but wants to set up formal talks at ministerial level between summits on issues including intellectual property rights, freedom of investment, energy and “managing the social implications of globalisation”, according to a top German official.

While Japan is against extending dialogue to its rival China, the “outreach five” as they are called also:

“fear greater proximity to the G8 could damage their reputation in standing up for the interests of other developing countries.

Regarding the G8 – it is indeed something of a closed club of rich countries who do not like to share decision-making. Many of the critics on the streets will agree with this. The other problem that might raise furore in the same circles on the street: opening up the G8 to some emerging markets, like Russia (the fatal error was already done) and China poses a difficult political question: the D-question. Managing your way through this difficult task of engaging the new players while keeping to some of your basic principles, democracy, is a delicate task. Interesting though, that those targeted emerging markets, including the democratic ones, are also those who object most to being included…!

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