G8 leaders focus on trade and the economy, taxation and business corruption at annual meeting – 17 and 18 June.
Ahead of the G8 summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, Commission president José Manuel Barroso set out EU positions on stimulating international trade and the economy, fighting tax evasion and reducing business corruption.
More trade, fair trade
EU trade policy supports unimpeded international trade as vital for sustainable growth, jobs and development.
The EU's bilateral trade agreements are a “stepping stone” towards wider multilateral global trade, said president Barroso. Completing all other ongoing free-trade talks would add 2.2% to the EU's GDP, and an estimated 2.2 million new jobs.
The EU also supports a proposed international agreement to help developing countries boost trade by simplifying trade rules, including import and export procedures.
The fight against tax evasion
President Barroso said more needs to be done internationally to close loopholes used by tax evaders, who deprive EU countries of € 1 trillion every year. This is money that should be available to spend on education, skills, healthcare and infrastructure investment.
He called on G8 leaders to focus on a new international standard for exchanging personal financial information among countries. EU rules could be used as a benchmark for such an agreement.
President Barroso called on more countries to join in the global effort against illegal payments to governments.
The EU advocates greater transparency in payments made to host governments by, for example, the extractive industries (oil, gas, mining and forestry). The EU has strengthened its own transparency and accounting rules to ensure such payments are declared as a check against corruption.
Other topics on the table include global security, climate change and the crisis in Syria.
The G8 is an informal group of 8 advanced economies that meets once a year to discuss global issues of mutual concern. The EU participates – as well as individual EU countries France, Italy, Germany and the UK.
All G8 countries are also members of the G20. The next G20 summit will be held in St. Petersburg, Russia on 5-6 September 2013.