G8, G20 summits must live up to hype, says British PM

25th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron urged G20 and G8 nations to start delivering on their pledges, suggesting ahead of two key summits that such meetings had become merely "grand talking shops."

Cameron, making his first appearance at the summits since taking power in May, said too often, high-profile talks among the most powerful world leaders "fail to live up to the hype."

The British premier -- who will hold bilateral talks with leaders including US President Barack Obama, Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev and China's Hu Jintao -- made the comments in a pre-summit article for Canada's Globe and Mail daily.

In separate comments to reporters, he added the weekend "isn't about a row over fiscal policy," amid signs of disagreements between the US and Europe, but instead should focus on global economic recovery.

"I come to the G8 and G20 in Muskoka and Toronto with a clear commitment to make sure these summits deliver for people," Cameron wrote.

"Too often these international meetings fail to live up to the hype and to the promises made... good intentions are shared in productive talks.

"Then somehow those intentions seem rarely to come to fruition in real, tangible global action. And when we meet again a year later, we find things haven't really moved on.

"So the challenge for the upcoming G8 and G20 is to be more than just grand talking shops."

He called for a "tight focus" and "real results" by concentrating on key priorities.

Urging world leaders to outline plans for "getting our national finances under control", Cameron also called for "flexibility" for individual countries.

In separate comments to reporters travelling with him, he added: "This weekend isn't about a row over fiscal policy.

"We all agree about the need for fiscal consolidation. For me, this G20 is about putting the world economy on an irreversible road to recovery."

European countries including Britain, France and Germany are pressing ahead with cuts despite US fears that slashing budgets too quickly could threaten the fragile global recovery.

He reiterated his support for a bank tax, but conceded that "this approach won't necessarily be for everyone," and stressed backing for faster action on strengthening bank capital and liquidity.

There was still work to be done in getting banks to lend more money to businesses, he said.

Britain, France, Germany and the US have publicly encouraged G20 partners to accept the tax but hosts Canada, Russia, China, India and Australia are opposed.

Cameron also called for "fresh thinking" on how to boost trade in the face of the long-stalled Doha trade talks.

The premier's official spokesman indicated this would include a "greater focus by the UK on bilateral trade deals."

"Doha is still our priority but other things can be done in the meantime," the spokesman added.

Cameron noted that while previous agreements on Doha had been made "in good faith," there had been no breakthrough despite over a decade of negotiations.

"I believe that if we are now to travel that final mile, we need fresh thinking and renewed political leadership. We must all put more on the table."

This could include consideration being given to countries opening up their services sector to foreign countries or whether specific areas, like allowing full duty-free access to exports from less developed countries, could be agreed more quickly, he added.

© 2010 AFP

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