The G20 as a Development Opportunity for the European Union

By Madeline R. Young, FRIDE

Opinion No. 6 - November 2010

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In this paper EDC 2020 examines Europe’s changing role in global development dialogue as framed by the G20. The trade and growth focus of the G20 will impact the EU’s development agenda, as global trends for economic progress take a different path. As a new economic and political forum of key international actors, the G20 will need time to formulate its position on development cooperation. The strength of emerging economies across Asia, Latin America and the Middle East demonstrate that traditional economic strategies are not suitable for every country. G20 summits under the Korean presidency in 2010 and the French presidency in 2011 will shape the development goals of the G20 and their implications for the EU.

As a small group of influential countries that control most of the world’s international aid, the G8 has played an important role in engaging with the developing world. However, G8 development strategies have not been entirely successful. The 2010 UN summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) underlined the shortcomings of G8 nations and the EU in providing effective aid. Many in the developing world criticise the paternalism of aid conditionality and unfair trade practices. Given that the G8 was formed to fulfil specific international goals, the G20 can be seen as a natural evolution of the global political landscape, bringing together new actors for innovative action on the world economy. Emerging economies have their own development strategies that have brought them to the G20 and they are working to share successes with developing countries through so-called ‘South-South’ cooperation. Nevertheless, G8 countries will continue to give development aid since they still have collective commitments vis-à-vis the developing world. The G8 states will continue to meet separately from the G20 to discuss the issue of international cooperation. Read more.