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EU to hold extraordinary summit prior to G20 meeting
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 04 - 09 - 2009

European Union leaders are to hold an
extraordinary summit on September 17 to iron out their differences
ahead of a Group of 20 meeting in Pittsburgh on reforming global
finance, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said Friday, according to dpa.
"The G20 will be a substantial meeting ... therefore it is very
important to coordinate a European position," since not all 27 EU
countries will be attending those talks, Reinfeldt said at a briefing
in Stockholm.
The dinner-time informal EU summit in Brussels will take place
exactly a week before heads of state and government from the world's
20 most important economies convene in Pittsburgh.
The European participants of that meeting are Britain, France,
Germany, Italy - and Sweden, in its capacity as current holder of the
EU's rotating presidency.
Spain and the Netherlands gained an invitation to the previous G20
summit in London on April 1-2, and its leaders were again expected to
attend the September talks in the United States.
The aim of the Pittsburgh meeting is to discuss ways of restoring
confidence in financial markets in the wake of a credit crunch, which
has lead to the EU suffering from its worst recession in decades.
Reinfeldt said bankers' bonuses would also feature prominently on
the Pittsburgh agenda.
"We have seen a tendency to go back to the same kind of bonus
systems that we saw before the financial crisis hit the
world," Reinfeldt said.
"We don't want to see a situation again whereby excessive risk-
taking ends up being a problem for taxpayers when it goes wrong, and
goes into the pocket of those working in the financial sector when it
goes right," the premier said.
The Swedish presidency is eager to avoid the mistakes of last
autumn, when powerhouses such as France and Germany infuriated their
smaller EU partners by excluding them from talks when the financial
crisis first hit Europe.
"That created a lot of tension and nervousness in the smaller
economies. We also have voters, we also have a situation we need to
react to," Reinfeldt said.
Britain, which is to host a preparatory G20 meeting over the
weekend, has expressed concern that any curb on bonuses could lead to
an exodus of top managers from the City of London.
Asked about British resistance to stricter rules, Reinfeldt said
"good regulations that make financial markets work better globally"
would also be good for Britain.
"Let's look at fewer but better functioning regulations, rather
than many regulations that we are not sure will do their job. I hope
that will also be the position of the City of London," Reinfeldt
The premier also pointed to a joint letter he received this week
from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas
Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown proposing a strong
link between executive pay and the performance of banks.
"Gordon Brown signed this letter ... specifically mentioning
bonuses. So I think there is an understanding that it is also
important for the United Kingdom," he said.
On Friday, the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter published a separate
letter penned by seven EU finance ministers calling for guaranteed
bonuses to be restricted to just one year.
The payment of bonuses should also be spread over a number of
years, while variable pay should in any case reflect the individual's
and the bank's long-term performance, said the ministers of Sweden,
Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Germany and Italy.
The letter did not carry the signature of British Chancellor
Alistair Darling, however.
The G20, which also includes the United States, Canada and major
emerging economies such as India and China, represents around 90 per
cent of global gross national product.

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