G20: lacklustre, with many missed opportunities
As widely expected, the G20 in Seoul ended with a final communique that failed to excite or inspire (the summit statement is a long document, which always suggests that nothing much has been achieved). The ITUC welcomed the positives (a continued commitment to growth including decent jobs and social protection, development and action on climate change) but there are negatives too (a renewed focus on ‘structural reforms’ which is often code for lower benefits and fewer rights at work). The G20 committed to consultation, not just with the non-G20 countries through the UN and regional bodies, but also with civil society and unions (although the G20 Business Summit got pride of place, which sort of undermines that commitment).
But what stands out most clearly is the missed opportunity to show leadership to get us all out of the hole we are in, with global unemployment standing at over 250 million. Leaders are still in denial, complacently claiming that the crisis is over. Maybe it is for them, but not for the currently unemployed and the poor or those likely to join their ranks. And of course no mention (yet) of financial transaction taxes, and measures to tackle the huge inequalities within countries that were the root cause of the current crisis: Never has it been more obvious that the G20 communique was written in advance of the meeting! So we are left, still, waiting for Sarko.