G7 Meeting in Munich: US pleas for streamlined summit
Thursday 09 July 1992
Washington's position coincided with a groundswell of opinion among ministers and diplomats, expressed privately, that the existing format has far outgrown its usefulness. And similar public misgivings were expressed by Brian Mulroney of Canada and John Major at the end of the summit yesterday.
The concluding communique disclosed that the group would meet in Japan next year. But a senior US Treasury official said Mr Bush brought up the future of G7 summits every time he attended them. 'He feels strongly about it; he's even suggested skipping a year. Privately, he's suggested that we should have done it when it was our turn.' The US last hosted a G7 summit two years ago.
Mr Mulroney, asked about the future of World Economic Summits, was more cynical. He said: 'Given the size of the economies, what we could do is we could have a Group of One. We could move Mr Bush around from year to year, put him in a room so he could cogitate for three days, and then come out and tell you what he thinks.'
The Canadian Prime Minister added: 'The size of the American economy is such that it dwarfs everybody else, including the Japanese, the Germans, the French and everybody. So you could always have a Group of One.'
The British view was more diplomatic, but no less critical. A senior British official said Mr Major felt that there were now too many international meetings, and not enough international discussion.
Throughout the summit, ministers bewailed the lack of spontaneity that has increasingly characterised the 18-year-old institution. They recalled the effectiveness of the early 'fireside chats' of world leaders at the first summits. Each year, the future summit host declares that his meeting will be the informal and effective one. Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany was no exception. 'Kohl said this year would be different,' said a senior European diplomat. 'Well it ain't that different.'
It is the preparationsthat appear to sabotage the occasions. These begin more than six months before the summit, unheard of in the context of regular international meetings.
'Consider that the draft communique for this summit was prepared by the sherpas (officials who prepare for the summit) in January,' a G7 diplomat said.
More and more, officials believe these preparatory talks should be scrapped. One initial improvement would be to reduce the number of 'sous-sherpas' - the representatives of foreign and finance ministers who accompany the leaders to the summits. But this will prove difficult. The frankest view here was that the summit gave a massive corps of bureaucrats a raison d'etre, which could not now be taken away. It is unlikely that the summits will be streamlined by next year. One official said: 'When Japan does things, it likes to do them big.'
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Tommy Ramone dies: Last surviving founder and drummer seminal punk band The Ramones dies aged 62
Gaza-Israel conflict: The terrible price Palestinian children are paying for Israel’s war with Hamas
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...