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EU Leaders Welcome the Chinese Presidency of the G20 Summit

Denisse Rudich and Marissa J. Young G20 Research Group
September 8, 2016

On 4 September 2016, Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the EU Commission, and Donald Tursk president of the European Council, welcomed the Chinese presidency of the G20 summit.  They further addressed the European Union's G20 Hangzhou Summit priorities. 

Trade was recognized as a vital engine for growth. Juncker said that the trade agreement with Canada, the Comprehensive-Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is "one of the best and most progressive agreement to date." CETA will have a positive effect on the labour market and will contribute to the fight against unemployment. With regards to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the EU Commission will continue negotiating with the United States to solidify trade liberalization among these key trading partners.

Junker stressed that fair taxation is essential to ensure that companies pay their fair share where their profits are made. The recent EU court ruling against Apple was hailed as a landmark ruling, highlighting that national authorities must not engage in anti-competitive practices by providing tax benefits to some companies and not others. Juncker further indicated the need for countries to have a level-playing field and corporate taxation that is fair.

With regards to Brexit, Juncker stressed that this was not a matter for the G20. It was a matter for the United Kingdom and the European Union. Europe "need not become the enemy of the UK," he said. "Britain remains a close partner and [we] do not want to re-invent the wheel." However, he stated that EU position maintains "no negotiations without notification." This refers to the UK's hesitation — almost reluctance — to enact Article 50 in order to begin the formal process of leaving the EU. Tusk solidified this sentiment, by reinforcing that there is a need to protect the interests of the 27 EU member states that have chosen to stay together.  

With regard to migration and the refugee crisis, Tusk acknowledged that beyond the Syrian crisis, there are approximately 65 million persons displaced worldwide and that there is a need for increased humanitarian efforts and aid. The EU called for the G20 to agree on resettlement efforts, particularly by countries outside the EU, and to make practical contributions. He cited the upcoming Summit on Refugees and Migrants to be hosted by US president Barack Obama and the United Nations on September 19, 2016, as an opportunity to address the crisis in a global forum.

While briefly touching upon terrorism, Tusk stressed that the G20 must deal with terrorism as a global issue and that there should be a comprehensive approach to counter-terrorism and radicalization in addition targeting terrorist financing. This should be done through greater exchange of information, freezing of assets and the criminalization of terrorist financing as a predicate offence.

With respect to climate change, the EU is "fully committed" to tackling the issue of climate change and welcomed the announcement by the United States and China that they would ratify the Paris Agreement prior to the EU Summit.

In the coming months, it will be interesting to see whether the EU's priorities unfold on the international stage and continue to be addressed at international forums, such as G20 summits.

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Denisse RudichDenisse Rudich is the director of the G20 Research Group's London Office. She has more than 15 years of experience working in the private and public sectors on financial crime prevention, including anti-money laundering, counter-terrorist financing, anti-bribery, and corruption and sanctions. She is currently a strategic advisor to senior management in a top-tier bank. She regularly attends G20 and G7 summits as a member of the G20 and G7 Research Groups' field teams, and is a contributor to Reuters.

Marissa YoungMarissa J. Young is a research assistant at the University of Toronto's G7 and 20 Research Groups. She is entering her fourth year of her honours BA in political studies and history at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. She is the former program editor for women in security with the NATO Association of Canada. At Queen's, Marissa has been actively involved with the Queen's International Affairs Association as their Chief Financial Officer, and has travelled across North America on their competitive Model United Nations team. Her research interests focus on women in security and global health, where she hopes to specialize in gender integration efforts within the armed forces.

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