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The Priorities of the French Presidency of the G8


France will urge G8 members to concentrate on areas where they can have a real impact, such as the internet, green growth and innovation, and nuclear safety

From "The 2011 G8 Deauville Summit: New World, New Ideas." edited by John Kirton and Madeline Koch
Published by Newsdesk Media Group and the G8 Research Group, 2011
To download a low-resolution pdf, click here

The September 2009 G20 Pittsburgh Summit marked a milestone in the reform of global governance by making the G20 “the premier forum for international economic cooperation” to reflect the new global balances and the growing role of the emerging countries. In this context, the G8’s role has evolved but the original nature of the forum has remained intact. As a result, the leaders of the most advanced economies are able to conduct direct and informal talks at the 2011 Deauville Summit. During its presidency, France has recommended that the ‘new G8’ focuses on issues where its members can have a genuine impact, avoiding duplication of the G20 agenda.

The new common challenges: the internet, innovation, green growth and a sustainable economy, and nuclear safety

Internet: This will be the first time that the internet is discussed within the G8 at the level of heads of state and government. The future of the internet and its development are major issues concerning both freedom of expression and communication – as has been demonstrated with the Arab Spring – and the global economy. The Deauville Summit will aim to define common principles and strengthen international cooperation to guarantee the development of a responsible internet. Crucial issues, such as protection of people’s private lives and freedoms, respect for intellectual property and cyber security, will be discussed by the leaders. The summit will be preceded and inspired by the eG8 Forum on 24-25 May in Paris, bringing together major figures in the world of the internet. Green growth and innovation: The objective is to identify concrete measures to develop these essential springboards for growth and jobs in our advanced economies. Nuclear safety: Following the unprecedented earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan and caused a nuclear accident at the Fukushima power plant, at Deauville the G8 will express its solidarity with the Japanese authorities and people. The summit will also give fresh impetus to tightening international nuclear safety requirements.

Finally, leaders will have the opportunity to exchange thoughts on climate change six months prior to the Durban Conference, and on trade, where they will reaffirm their commitment to multilateralism.

The ‘Arab spring’: a partnership for democracy

The Arab Spring will be the focus of discussions among the G8 leaders. There will be a special working session devoted to the subject, in which the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia will participate.

The French presidency of the G8 supports these transitions to democracy and will establish a strengthened and long-term partnership with the countries of the region involved to support civil society and economic and social reforms, particularly aimed at young people, whose thirst for freedom sparked off the liberation movements of the Arab people.

Strengthening the partnership with Africa: a long-term vision

The G8’s commitment to Africa is taking shape in concrete forms, both in the area of strengthening African peace and security capabilities and in the area of cooperation for development.

In Deauville, the G8 leaders will meet their African partners for open and direct discussions on the challenges of this continent.

The G8 will also express its support for democratic progress in Africa by inviting the newly elected leaders of Côte d’Ivoire, Niger and Guinea-Conakry to take part in the outreach dialogue on Africa.

We will also continue the exercise begun by the Canadian presidency in 2010 on following up the commitments of the G8 countries, in particular in the areas of health and food security. In a spirit of ‘mutual responsibility’, the African countries will present a summary of the progress made in governance, transparency and the effectiveness of aid.

Peace and security: traditional themes of the G8

The peace and security agenda will form an essential element of the French presidency of the G8. In addition to political issues (Iran, Libya, Syria, the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and non-proliferation), the French presidency will focus in particular on new drug-trafficking routes connecting Latin America, West Africa and Europe, as well as the fight against terrorism, particularly in the Sahel.

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