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Translating the Barroso/van Rompuy letter to the G20

EU Commission president Barroso and European Council President van Rompuy have written a letter to the G20 (pdf). Here is my translation “EU speak to human language” to show what they actually mean:

The decisions we have taken in our G20 Summits to date have been crucial in steering us through the global financial and economic crisis.
Whatever decisions we have taken at the G20 over the last years, the financial crisis is still not over.
We have acted firmly and decisively with a sense of urgency and common purpose.
There has never been much agreement among ourselves, but we have been rushing around anyway.
In the current economic situation, with world growth slowing and the global economic outlook deteriorating, we need to renew this collective G20 spirit.
We know that there is still not much agreement but we will try to pretend better this time that there was.
So our overall objectives for the Cannes G20 Summit should be to help restore global confidence, support sustainable growth and job creation, and maintain financial stability.
All we want from this summit is to have a nice group picture at the end where everyone is smiling.
Within the EU, we are taking all necessary steps to ensure the stability and growth of the euro area.
We know that we are kind of slow here in the EU to agree on anything, but you have to understand with such figures like Merkel, Berlusconi, Cameron et al.…
The euro is at the core of our European project.
Not all our countries actually use the Euro and we risk to get divided over a common currency that is only half-common. Some even have questioned the usefulness of the Euro.
On 26 October we agreed on a comprehensive set of measures to restore confidence and address the current tensions in financial markets.
It took us an endless number of summits to come to some kind of agreement that was so general that we could agree on it but specific enough to make markets believe we had a solution.
These measures include:
– a sustainable solution for Greece. […]
We made sure Greece survives the next month.
– a significant further strengthening of the resources of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), which depending on the specific set-up […]
We’ve made the same amount of money we had before look much more, given that China agrees to invest a hell lot of money.
– a coordinated plan to reinforce Europe’s banking system.  […]
We pretend to have this plan for two years now, so don’t hope that this one will solve anything.
– determined action to ensure sustainable public finances and enhance growth.
We have this plan since 2000 (the famous Lisbon Strategy), but if we repeat it often enough maybe somebody will believe it until 2020.
– strengthening euro area governance.
We made Commissioner Olli Rehn responsible for the Eurozone issues. He speaks so slowly that in a crisis situation markets will have crashed before he has finished the first sentence.
We will implement these measures rigorously and in a timely manner, and we are confident that they will contribute to the swift resolution of the crisis.
Give us 10 to 20 years.
However, whilst we in Europe will play our part, this cannot alone ensure global recovery and rebalanced growth.
We have done enough pretending we would do something, but if we pretend alone this won’t work.
There is a continued need for joint action by all G20 partners in a spirit of common responsibility and common purpose.
Help us pretending and give us a lot of money. A lot.
In Cannes we should aim for ambitious outcomes on eight priorities: […]
Here are 8 points that we all could use to pretend we would solve this crisis. They are so general that we might all agree to them. But even if not: Let’s smile on the final photo!


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