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G8 Summit 2013 Recap

June 25, 2013

My name is Jessie Mroz, and I am a recent graduate of The School of Public and Environmental Affairs’ BSPA in Environmental Management. I will be continuing my coursework in SPEA as a Master’s of Public Affairs candidate in Environmental Policy and Natural Resource Management. I am an intern with the Institute for European Studies this summer and I will be contributing to this blog. Thanks for reading!

The 39th G8 Summit took place last week, June 17-18 in Northern Ireland, hosted by UK Prime Minister David Cameron. World leaders from Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, and Russia and President Barak Obama met to discuss multi-national issues in an informal annual forum. The first summit was held in 1975 in Rambouillet, France and its original members were France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US. In the past, the summit has tackled poverty alleviation, but this year’s summit focused on a pro-business job creation agenda.

The topics of discussion were tax evasion, trade, and transparency; however, there was significant discussion on the civil war in Syria. All nations present agreed that a transitional government needed to be put in place to try and alleviate the conflict, and peace talks needed to happen in Geneva “as soon as possible”. The role of Syrian President Bashar Assad was left out of these talks, even with his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Group of Eight

The Group of Eight

The discussion on tax evasion was led by Cameron, who stressed, “You have to collect the taxes that are owed. That is only fair for companies and for people who play by the rules” in regard to the trend of widespread international practices of tax evasion. They agreed to make a tax information exchange network between nations more transparent and accessible. Shell companies which are set up for the specific purpose of tax avoidance by the use of loopholes will be held more accountable as well.

Talks opened between EU nations and the US toward a bilateral free trade agreement. Significant job creation is possible for both economies, and such an agreement would be the largest and most impactful thus far. President Obama is hopeful for the success of the agreement, but also stresses the legwork that needs to be done before this can happen, “We have a profound stake in each other’s success. We agreed that there is more work to do. Not only do we need to grow, but we also need to reform our economies structurally”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will take the helm on these negotiations for the EU, which will begin on July 8th in Washington, DC.

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