Gordon Brown: G20 must represent G192
+1 202 294 4704
Elizabeth Boswell Rega
+32 (0)473 280 950
BRUSSELS (March 26, 2011) –Former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, speaking on the second day of Brussels Forum, warned that sovereign states “are retreating into national silos at a time when international cooperation is needed more than ever.”
Brown was speaking on the future of the G20 alongside World Bank President Robert Zoellick, WTO Director General Pascal Lamy, and Michel Pebereau, Chairman of the Board of Directors for BNP Paribas. Brussels Forum is an annual, high-level conference on the challenges facing the transatlantic relationship.
Brown emphasized the need for a more representative and inclusive G20.
“The G20 has got to represent the G192,” he said. “We’ve got to give every country a role” either directly or indirectly through representation.
Lamy agreed with Brown, calling for a “switch to a constituency system,” but cautioned against institutionalizing the G20 and creating another bureaucracy.
Zoellick added that the G20 should play a role as a steering group. “It needs to figure out how to use existing institutions” to move its agenda forward, he said.
Zoellick also advocated for a more accountable organization. “If an international grouping doesn’t do anything, it doesn’t matter who is at the table, at the end of the day people won’t respect it,’’ he said.
Earlier in the program, Sir Tom Stoppard, the playwright, spoke passionately about the December elections in Belarus. “Really closer to Brussels than some of the other European capitals, we have a place where there's this left over,” he said, recalling the days of autocratic regimes in Eastern Europe. “The bad old days are here and now.”
“When I say our standards have slipped, I’m not really talking about our morality slipping,” he said. “I think that our sense of what is appropriate has just shifted, and shifted in the wrong direction. Until finally a place which is really bad like Belarus … isn’t [in] quite sharp enough contrast to our own countries.”
Following Stoppard’s remarks, Jerzy Buzek, president of the European Parliament, reaffirmed the need for European cooperation on numerous fronts. “For Europe to continue to be relevant in the 21st century, it is not just through the euro aid and humanitarian assistance,” he said. “We need to be players and not just payers.”
Also on Saturday morning, Ambassador Richard Jones from the International Energy Agency, Iain Conn, chief executive of refining and marketing at BP, Ivan Krastev, with the Center of Liberal Strategies, and Leonard Orban, Romanian presidential adviser for European Affairs, discussed energy security and rival pipeline projects in Eastern Europe. Conn expressed frustration with the lack of political will to address the core energy challenge. “Energy efficiency is something we seem incapable of talking about properly,” he said.
Referring to Europe’s carbon-trading scheme, he called for an increase in CO2 prices. “It may sound like a strange thing for an oil man to want,” Conn said.
Brussels Forum is an annual high-level meeting of the most influential North American and European political, corporate, and intellectual leaders to address pressing challenges facing both sides of the Atlantic. Participants come from 50 countries, and include heads of state, senior officials from the European Union institutions and the member states, U.S. officials, Congressional representatives, academics, and media.
Brussels Forum is organized by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), the Federal Authorities of Belgium, the Egmont Institute, and Daimler. Additional sponsors include the European Union Delegation to the United States, Deloitte, BP, BNP Paribas Fortis, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, the Ministry of Defence Republic of Latvia, Centre of European Studies, European Liberal Forum, and the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.