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03.01.2007 General News

Germany To Seek Fairer Growth Distribution

By Daily Graphic
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Germany will use its mandate as head of the Group of Eight nations this year to advocate a gentler form of globalisation, transparency in financial transactions, climate protection and rewards for African nations practising sound government.

These are the topics that Chancellor Angela Merkel will want to see on the agenda at a G-8 summit in June at Heiligendamm on the Baltic Sea, where she will receive the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.

"The goal will be to identify imbalances and to determine what can be done to ensure more balanced global growth," said Bernd Pfaffenbach, an aide to Merkel, adding that promoting "global prosperity" would be the theme of the meeting.

The imbalances plaguing world economic momentum are already well-known; the US trade and current account deficits, the massive foreign exchange reserves held by the China, constraints on growth in Europe and obstacles to faster economic gains in Africa.

Merkel wants to forge a privileged partnership between the G-8 and those African governments which are committed to corruption-free administration and to strengthening democratic reform.

On financial markets, Germany will press for greater transparency and political monitoring of speculative hedge funds, which are seen by Berlin -- and increasingly by some of its partners -- as a destabilising element in global finance.

Germany now has the backing of the United States, which for years had been reluctant to go along with vigorous market supervision.

But Pfaffenbach acknowledged that Merkel will probably have to be content with simply "a final declaration that calls for greater transparency".

Germany is also expected to push for a more rational use of energy resources and hopes to spark discussion on a follow-up to the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which expires in 2012.

Berlin in addition wants to include Mexico, India, China, Brazil and South Africa, countries that are not members of the G8, in the climate talks.

The fate of the Doha Round of multilateral trade liberalisation negotiations, currently deadlocked, is likely to hover over the G8 next year.

But Germany, apart from general statements citing the need to complete the Doha process, has so far steered clear from any deeper involvement.

The June summit, to be held under rigorous security measures, will in all likelihood be confronted by unexpected -- and perhaps traumatic -- news events elsewhere.

G8 leaders gathering in Gleneagles, Scotland, in 2005 had to deal with the London subway bombings that occurred at the same time.

At the 2006 summit in Saint Petersburg, delegates were preoccupied by the war in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah militiamen.

— AFP

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