The G8 summit opened in Italy, although one may not refer to the event as the meeting of eight leading countries in the world. The leaders of Russia, Italy, the USA, Canada, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, as well as the head of the European Committee, and the prime minister of EU’s chairing state, Sweden, gathered in the morning of July 8 for breakfast.
The leaders discussed the world crisis, the climate, the situation with the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea and the situation in the Middle East. The day ended with a series of bilateral meetings. The program of the second and the third day of the forum (July 9 and 10) brings up the idea that the format of the G8 summit is not enough to discuss world’s most important problems.
Officials representing six other countries – China, India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and Egypt – will participate in the discussion of economic problems on July 9. The leaders of Australia, Indonesia and South Korea will join them later.
Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Sweden and Turkish officials arrived in Italy too. The leaders of several African states have been invited to participate in the forum as well – the subject of international assistance to the Black Continent is to be discussed during the last day of the summit.
Finally, spokespeople for international organizations arrived in Italy as well – the UN, the IMF, the WB (World Bank) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
It just so happened that the G8 meeting has turned into the meeting of the leaders of about 40 countries and international organizations. The participation of the leading developing states at G8 summits became a tradition long ago. The leaders of China, India, Brazil and Mexico attend such events on a regular basis. Obviously, it is impossible to solve the issues of the present-day world order without these countries.
How can the G8 leaders discuss the questions of the world crisis if the Chinese and Indian economies are growing faster than anywhere else in the world? How can they discuss the regulation of the Middle East crisis without Egypt, the largest state of the Arab world? How can they talk about the nuclear program or North Korea without South Korea?
Economic issues are inseparable from political problems. International financial organizations give loans to the crisis-struck nations – Latvia and Hungary, for example. It just so happens that the previous meetings of only eight world leaders representing eight most developed economies in the world has become outdated. Is there a need to change the format of the summit?
Ivan Rodionov, a Professor of Russia’s Higher School of Economics said that it was a correct decision to expand the format of the G8 summit.
“The world economic system, which was established in 1946, needs to be changed. The Group of Seven – the USA, Canada, Japan, Britain, France, Germany and Italy emerged during the 1970s and the 1980s. Russia joined the group during the 1990s, after the collapse of the USSR.
“The world economic crisis gives a reason to change the structure of G8 meetings. Which role will Russia have in the world economic system? Many economists refer to the association of BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – just as BIC, without Russia. They believe that Russia’s share in the world economy is insignificant. In addition, the Russian economy is based on raw materials. Therefore, Russia does not show much influence on the economic situation in the world, but simply follows it.
“The Russian government is aware of the problem, and it is trying to solve it. At least, the government is trying to do something to change the structure of the Russian economy and make it more innovative. There is a hope that we will eventually cut the fuel constituent of the economy to be able to join the world economic giants,” the expert said.