“In order to respond successfully to the global crises, threats and challenges, the international community should have an efficient multilateral system based on universal values. If international organisations do not rediscover their role in this process, others will fill the vacuum,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva said, addressing the participants in the G20 Meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers.
Zaharieva heads the delegation of the European Union to the forum, which is organised by the Argentine G20 presidency at the Palacio San Martín in Buenos Aires.
The meeting is also attended by Foreign Ministers Heiko Maas of Germany, Wang Yi of China, Taro Kono of Japan, Julie Bishop of Australia, Boris Johnson of the UK, Lindiwe Sisulu of South Africa, Abdel al-Jubeir of Saudi Arabia, Retno Marsudi of Indonesia, Angelino Aflano of Italy, Roberto Ampuero of Chile, Stef Blok of the Netherlands, Alfonso Dastis of Spain, Vivian Balakrishnan of Singapore, Sidiki Kaba of Senegal, Louise Mushikiwabo of Rwanda, and Kamina Johnson-Smith of Jamaica.
“Apart from the political support that we lend to the UN, the EU and its Member States are the largest financial donor in the UN system: we contribute 30.38 per cent of the organisation’s budget and 33.17 per cent of the financial resources for peacekeeping missions. The EU Member States also provide nearly half of the money for the various UN programmes and funds,” Zaharieva reminded her colleagues. She stressed that the EU regards G20 as a positive example which encourages in full measure multilateralism in international relations. She called on the organisation of the world’s most powerful economies to uphold trade relations based on the rigorous rules and practices within the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and to affirm the determination with which it opposes protectionism and unfair trading practices.
The EU prioritises the preservation of the WTO dispute settlement system, improvement of cyber security in the financial sector and encouragement of hybrid financing of infrastructure projects. The European Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe (EC IPE) alone has already mobilised 284 billion euro since 2015 from various public and private sources.
“We support the EC IPE in its three aspects: financing, project design and structural reforms. This will help narrow the gap in the condition of the infrastructure in the various countries,” Zaharieva emphasised. She added that G20 must integrate the UN Sustainable Development Goals into its policies.
Zaharieva also stressed the importance of taking notice of changes in the labour market, adopting a policy of guaranteeing quality jobs.
During the discussion, the foreign ministers also considered the reform of the UN initiated by Secretary-General António Guterres, which is focused on peacekeeping, support for sustainable development and internal restructuring. The EU backs the Secretary-General’s ideas, and especially the proposals to devolve decision-making.
The Group of Twenty (G20) started in 1999 as a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors. Its members are the world’s 19 largest national economies: Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, plus the European Union.
Between them, the G20 members account for 85 per cent of the global economic output, generate 75 per cent of international trade, and are home to two-thirds of the planet’s population.