The summit brings together the world’s seven richest nations and Russia, and discussions today are likely to be topped by issues such as the nuclear meltdown in Japan, the pursuit of hostilities in Libya, the Arab revolutions in Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and elsewhere.
This balmy and usually laid back resort town for Paris’ well-heeled bourgeois-bohemes or “Bobos” looks nothing like its usual self but has taken on the allure of a fortress.
Security is so tight it is suffocating with the press shepherded into a single controlled press complex and herded on or off buses for press conferences held at the main convention centre. Badges have to be flashed at every turn. It is impossible to reach delegates except by calling their mobile numbers which are usually busy or switched off.
Protests in Deauville have been completely banned and there have already been several arrests of protesters in Paris with 50 odd persons detained.
The summit brings together the world’s seven richest nations and Russia, and discussions today are likely to be topped by issues such as the nuclear meltdown in Japan (the core of several reactors did melt town as Tepco has recently reluctantly confirmed), the pursuit of hostilities in Libya, the Arab revolutions in Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and elsewhere.
And although the IMF crisis features no where on the official agenda, Mr. Sarkozy is expected to lobby hard for his candidate, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde. Ms. Lagarde who declared her candidature with unseemly haste on Wednesday so that President Obama could be presented with what many Europeans believe to be a fait accompli, has given Deauville a wide berth, preferring to stay on in Paris. However her announcement, made without consulting the other non EU members of the IMF, has angered several emerging nations.
“They had announced that Dominique Strauss-Kahn would be the last European head of the IMF for a while. Jean Claude Junker, the president of the Euro group had made a public statement to the effect. This candidacy means several things: that the EU cannot be trusted to keep its word; that there is a definite lack of respect for emerging economies; and that this new development risks destabilising the Fund at a very delicate moment,” Deborah Berlink, the Paris correspondent of the Brazilian daily O Globo told The Hindu.
It is significant that the IMF’s Executive Director for China, Jianxiong, was also a signatory to the document released by the Executive Directors of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). No Chinese official would sign a document without first getting the green light from Beijing. The Europeans have claimed that Ms. Lagarde’s candidacy has the support of the Chinese government. The BRICS document throws doubts over this claim.
The G8 support for the Arab revolutions is likely to end in a sizeable fiscal package being announced for Tunisia and Egypt whose economies are in a state of shambles with tourism down by almost a third. Their Prime Ministers have been invited to the summit and aid packages are being worked out by both the World Bank and the IMF.