The G20 is the name of an informal association of 19 states and the European Union that has existed since 1999, and essentially represents the leading industrialised nations and emerging countries of the world in this respect. The presidency is held for one year on a rotating basis by one of the member states in whose country the respective summit meeting is also organised. It is not uncommon for these meetings to be accompanied by riots in the streets of the respective host city, prevented only by massive security precautions in advance.
This year’s costly G20 summit took place in the eternal city of Rome between the 30th and 31st October, where – judging by the final declaration – the usual superficiality and non-commitment hardly went beyond generalities abstracted into the unspecific. On the eve of the summit, various bilateral political meetings were already on the agenda, which were just as unproductive as the subsequent summit itself. The fishing dispute between the United Kingdom and France can be taken as a prominent example.
To avoid civil war-like riot scenes – such as those in Genoa in 2001 or Hamburg in 2017 – Italy armed itself with a veritable XXL security concept against comparable riots. Interestingly, from a German perspective, Angela Merkel introduced Sozi Scholz to the political world stage in Rome – even before the coalition negotiations were concluded, in which the party she had ruined is no longer involved – as if her life’s work of social democratisation of a once conservative party was to be symbolically concluded in this way. Incidentally, Olaf Scholz was the host mayor in 2017, whose blatant misjudgement of the security situation resulted in property damage of more than 12 million Euros, according to the Interior Ministry. In Rome, snipers were posted on the roofs and the fire brigade was called in with equipment against chemical and biological weapons.
Saving the Future by Destroying the Present
The question is what can be learned from this G20 summit? The first thing that probably stands out is the different, less ideological, but more pragmatic, political approach of Russia and China – namely that they do not focus entirely and exclusively on problems that are merely assumed to occur in two, three or more decades, but also at least still perceive concrete challenges of the present.
Moreover, in contrast to the West, people in Russia and China are apparently still prepared to take responsibility for secular solutions to problems in the here and now, instead of avoiding accountability for dealing with present-day problems, employing climate-religious projections into the future. Furthermore, the unctuous, soothing praise of a multilateral trading system sounded very much like an evocative lashing out at the long-failed concept of hyper-globalisation that has, quite literally, ceased to deliver.
Moreover, the unanimous demand for a concept of orderly, regular migration gives the impression of an international approval of refugee migrations that can no longer be stopped, but whose organisational leadership should be taken over by the industrial nations. There is a suspicious resemblance to the European Union’s New Pact on Migration & Asylum being worked on in Brussels. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who chaired the G20 Summit, paid tribute to Greta Thunberg at the closing press conference, echoing her childishly naive rhetoric from the Youth4Climate conference in Milan:
“Many say they have had enough of blah, blah, blah. I think this summit was full of substance. We filled the words with substance.”
In other words, undignified preemptive obedience!
Swept under the Table
But significantly more telling than the final declaration from Rome is what was explicitly NOT discussed at the G20 Summit. After all, the fishing dispute between the United Kingdom and France that arose after Brexit (even though the British were the most accommodating in their agreement with the EU on fishing policy) is far from being THE big international crisis topic. Instead, the ongoing tensions between NATO and Russia are likely to be of far greater concern to the world, after the Russian Government suspended the work of its permanent NATO representation due to the transatlantic military alliance previously withdrawing the Russian mission’s accreditation.
Other burning issues, such as how to deal with the new Taliban government in Afghanistan, or the instrumentalisation of migration flows by Belarus, or the unresolved problems in the Middle East – be it the developments in Libya or the sanctions policies strangulation of Syria – were also lost, as were the pressing economic problems, such as emerging asset, or, more specifically, real estate bubbles, or the danger of inflation running rampant in terms of monetary policy, or container congestion in crucial world trade ports, etc.
Don't Miss Anything Important!
Join our newsletter to receive the latest news and updates from Europa Terra Nostra, including exclusive analyses and invitations to our events.