Gordon Brown was one of the first to arrive at Justus Lipsius. The indicator board said that the Prime Minister was inviting to visit the briefing. That was strange, as usually the reports are made after the summit, and not three hours before it.
Brown had brought the plan of overcoming the world crisis not only by the EU, but in global scale. He was in a hurry to publish it before the acting chair of the European Union Nicolas Sarkosy opened the meeting of the 27.
London, the European bulwark of the liberal capitalism, not a member of Euro zone and Shengen, almost a political dissident, has proposed an initiative for Europe and even for the entire globe, speaking on behalf of Europe. It speaks for rigid re-formatting of the world financial system and for convocation of another “Bretton Woods” conference similar to that that laid fundamentals to the World Bank, IMF and WTO in 1944. This new one should be done in the format G8 +, i.e. with necessary participation by the growing economic powers.
Mr. Brown had phoned presidents of the US, Brazil, South Africa… He speaks for transnational control over the financial markets, for return of controlling functions to the IMF. But he is against returning of the state into economy and against closing up the national economies within their domestic borders.
“Protectionism has no future” said Mr. Brown repeatedly.
Nicolas Sarkosy also had prepared a similar plan. Unlike the phlegmatic and gloomy looking Brown, the French President during his meeting with the press spoke for more radical reform and the fundamental change of the global capitalistic financial system. The ultra-liberal capitalism has discredited itself, and the world needs the market-like and socially-oriented model of the EU.
Everyone, who watched the European matters, they noticed that Sarkosy behaved like the EU chair, already invested with powers under the non-ratified-yet Lisbon’s Treaty, and as the leader of the united Europe, both about dealing with financial crisis and settling the Russia-Georgia conflict.
Consequences of the Russia-Georgia war and renewal of the broken talks about the basic Russia-EU agreement could have been the hottest topic of the summit but for financial crisis.
The Russian journalists, interested mostly in that subject, were disappointed. The participants just did not have time for that. Due to discord in opinions, the EU leaders decided to postpone the decision taking to November. No word was spoken about Russia, Georgia and the talks about strategic agreement at the main press conferences.
I asked Javier Solana, the senior EU commissary for foreign policy and security, about what decision was taken regarding the talks with Moscow. The matter is about the legal grounds of the Russia-EU relations.
“The talks will be renewed only after the EU Council and European Commission are finished with the deep analysis of the state and perspectives of the Russia-EU relations” said Mr. Solana. “I do hope this will have happened before 14 November” (the day where another Russia-EU summit is to take place with participation of Medvedev – A.M.).
The European Commissary for foreign relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, when answering same question, specified that she had put that on the agenda of the meeting of the EU foreign ministers to be held in Brussels on 10 November. Most likely, it is there that it will be announced about the continued talks.
Those talks are not related directly with the Russia-Georgia conflict and its consequences. The renewed talks do not mean that Russia is “forgiven”; neither means it the recognition of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia. This is just continuation of establishing each others’ opinions and positions.
Sarkosy has tried to convince the others about that and he got support from Germans and Italians. However, he convinced not everyone. The Polish, Czechs, Baltic states, Scandinavians and the British reminded that the special summit of 1 September had made a decision to suspend the talks till Russians came back to the status quo as of 7 August. That did not happen and does not seem to be going to.
Sarkosy argued vehemently for effectiveness of his deal with Medvedev and for constructive behavior by Moscow in the settlement of the crisis. 14 November in Nice he will have fewer problems, dealing with Medvedev one-to-one, with no Polish and British along. He will be the one, as the EU leader. The outgoing one, as after 1 January it is Czechs to take the European watch.
In the meantime, on 22 October the donor’s conference is going to be held being chaired by the EU and the World Bank, that is to allot money to Georgia for recovering after the war consequences. It turns out that the international community is going to cure the Tbilisi’s wounds and make a compensation of losses caused by Moscow. The international financial organizations have estimated the damage suffered by Georgia to be ˆ2.38 bn.