G20 summit in Turkey
A strong signal against terrorism
Chancellor Angela Merkel has reported that the G20 summit sent a "resolute signal" in the fight against terrorism. A wide spectrum of international cooperation is important, she said, partly to stop the flow of funds to terrorists. Angela Merkel also announced that Germany would hold the G20 presidency in 2017.
"We, the G20 states, are sending a resolute signal that we are stronger than terrorism," underlined Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday morning at a joint press conference with Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Now it is important to establish with the other security forces and authorities, who were the perpetrators, who was behind the attacks, and what links can be identified. Not only do we owe this to the victims. We are responsible for security in our countries and for protecting the many innocent refugees who have fled war and terrorism," declared Angela Merkel.
Many measures called for
Participants had agreed, she reported, that the only way to respond to the challenge is with a wide spectrum of measures, not only military in nature. "This includes close cooperation between national intelligence agencies as well as international cooperation in the wider sense," said Angela Merkel. It is also important to halt the flows of funds to terrorists.
Asked about international intervention in Syria, Angela Merkel pointed to the process launched in Vienna, and said this must be pursued. It is primarily a political process in Syria. Angela Merkel welcomed the fact that there are major efforts to coordinate all steps with the United Nations. That was her impression following Saturday’s meeting of the ministers of foreign affairs.
During the G20 summit Angela Merkel also met with several heads of state and government for bilateral talks. Her meeting on Sunday evening with Russian President Vladimir Putin focused on the results of the Syrian talks in Vienna and the situation in Ukraine – in particular the implementation of the Minsk agreement.
Refugee conference planned for early 2016
The refugee crisis was on the agenda of the first day of the summit. One very major aspect is, "wherever possible to turn illegal migration into legal migration," stressed Angela Merkel. Financial assistance for Turkey must be clarified in order to "share the burden", and it must be ascertained how many refugees can be taken in and allocated across Europe, she said. She stated that the protection of the EU’s external borders is crucially important. "This will have to be agreed step by step as part of a process between Turkey and the European Union."
The Chancellor also said it is crucial to ensure that the UN organisations – the World Food programme and UNHCR – are adequately funded. She announced a Syrian refugee conference to be held on 4 February 2016 in London. It is to look at support for Syrian refugees and for the countries sheltering these refugees. "It will also be a question of looking at ways of organising education for those who are still in Syria and at how to give refugees the opportunity to return to their homes as swiftly as possible," she stressed.
From climate action to economic growth
Also on the agenda of the G20 summit was the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. After protracted negotiations, it was finally agreed to adopt the target of keeping global warming down to a rise of 2°C, reported Angela Merkel. "Germany will do all it can to support France in ensuring that the conference is a success," she stressed.
The G20 summit went on to discuss sustainable, inclusive economic growth. "It is important to ensure that not only some parts of the world develop soundly. All continents must benefit from economic growth," underlined the Chancellor. The goal is also to make it easier for young people with particular difficulties to obtain training and find employment by 2025.
Trade-related matters too were on the agenda. Participants confirmed their commitment to multilateral trade policy, reported the Chancellor. She pointed to the digital agenda to make industrial production fit for tomorrow’s world, and reported that she had spoken out vigorously in favour of free trade agreements and against protectionism in the world.
With a view to the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in September, participants looked at certain aspects of the 2030 Agenda, including food security, reducing losses in agriculture, and the economic situation of low-income countries. Matters relating to antimicrobial resistance had also been discussed, underscored the Chancellor.
The summit meeting in Antalya built on last year’s summit in Brisbane, Australia, where the G20 states agreed to raise global economic growth by two per cent. The motto of this year’s summit was "Inclusiveness, Implementation and Investment". The heads of state and government dealt with an agenda for sustainable growth, designed to benefit weaker nations in particular and ensure that they too benefit from progress.
The main topics on the agenda of the G20 summit were:
- Terrorism and refugees
- The global economy and strategies for growth
- Employment and investment strategies
- Financial market regulation, international taxation policy
- Anti-corruption, IMF reform
- Development cooperation and climate change
- Trade and energy.
Achievements in financial market regulation
In conjunction with the regulation of the financial market and the banking sector, the heads of state and government agreed to take important steps. The joint regulations are intended to prevent tax-payers being required to pick up the bill when crisis hits. The owners, creditors and investors in the financial sector are to be liable. "This is a major step forward, and I believe that it is a genuinely important success of this G20 summit," said Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble at the press conference.
The G20 also agreed on a base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) regulation, which limits the scope for reducing tax liabilities, thus reducing the damaging competition between tax regimes.
Germany to assume G20 presidency
The Chancellor announced that Germany would assume the G20 presidency in 2017. It will now work with Turkey and China as a troika. Turkey has held the presidency since December 2014, and China will take over at the helm in December 2015. The G20 presidency changes once a year on 1 December.
The Group of the 20 most important industrialised and emerging economies (G20) has met regularly since 2008. The first meeting of these heads of state and government was triggered by the global economic and financial crisis. It was held in Washington DC. The 2009 G20 summit in Pittsburgh agreed to hold two summit meetings in 2010. Since 2011 the G20 summit has been held annually. The G20 nations are the G7, Russia, China, India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, South Korea, Indonesia, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the EU. Guest nations are also invited. This year Spain, which is a permanent guest, was joined by Azerbaijan and others. International organisations like the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and the OECD are also invited.