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EU gets ready for G20 regulation debate

We are just a month away from the next G20 Summit which is due to take place in Pittsburgh on 24-25 September and yet you would hardly know it was happening. Unlike the last G20 summit in London in April which had a long high profile build-up, especially in the UK, the Pittsburgh summit is almost creeping up on us unnoticed. Except in the labyrinthine corridors of European Union power that is.
There is no agenda yet for the G20 meeting but its main topics will be restoring confidence in financial markets and setting up new structures for their supervision. The meeting will also tackle the vexed questions of whether and how to scale back the economic stimulus packages and the huge expansion of the money supply undertaken by some countries. The EU is already busy preparing for this and readying itself to push its own extensive agenda of regulatory reform.
While the UK government has been on holiday and the Obama administration in the US distracted by the healthcare debate, the EU has been laying plans for the G20 summit, led by the Swedish presidency. It has arranged an informal meeting of EU finance ministers for 2 September, followed by a two day meeting of finance ministers in London on 4-5 September. It is due to decide later this week whether it will hold a formal meeting of the EU leaders the week after the finance ministers.
The Swedes are trying to play down all this pre-summit manoeuvering by saying that it wants to ensure that the EU states that are not attending the G20 summit are fully informed about the agenda and are able to comment on the approach the EU should take. In reality what it wants to do is to create a very powerful common position on its regulatory reform agenda as set out in the Larosiere report and, if the French and Germans get their way, agree a tough line against the sort of huge government support for the financial sector and the economy that the UK and US governments have undertaken. It will be an interesting few weeks of summitry.
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