Address of President Charles Michel at the Berlin Global Dialogue

It is really great to be with you for this first edition. I think we all share the same assessment. We all understand that climate change and the digital transformation are both fundamental challenges for our common future. And on the EU side, this is the growth strategy, the security programme of the European Union.

I remember very well when four years ago the 27 heads of state or government of the European Union took the decision to make Europe carbon-neutral by 2050. It was a very clear goal and it is our responsibility to set strategic objectives and common goals. I remember also that at that time some observers were sceptical. But since then we can see that we are followed by many countries across the world. Maybe not with exactly the same level of ambition, maybe not at exactly the same speed, not with exactly the same measures. But it is very clear that this 21st century industrial revolution will be green and digital.

We need massive investment in a short period of time and this is why we need to find the right balance between the need for the public sector to invest and to trigger private investments. Of course, what I say is not the exception, it’s obvious, but sometimes it’s necessary to repeat things that should be obvious.

First, we need legal stability, regulations, legal certainty. This is the role of the policy-makers. The European Union has a role to play, I think, at global level.

Based on my experience in recent months at the G20 and the United Nations one week ago, I feel there’s a growing debate. There is an urgent need for what I would call a new Bretton Woods moment. We need a new global financing pact. This is very clear and in our part of the world, the European Union, I feel it is very important for us not to have a narrow vision. We have our own perspective, and this is normal. The G7 has full control of the Bretton Woods institutions. This is the reality. This is the truth. Why? Because when those institutions were launched 60 years ago, the world was absolutely different. Many countries didn’t exist because they were not independent. There is a new reality today, and for us it’s important to be lucid, to understand what’s going on in other parts of the world. And here I think the EU has a special role to play. Indeed, those reforms will be needed, are urgent. This is a growing debate. There was an event in Paris a few months ago. There is the Bridgetown initiative with Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados, and this was one of the main topics at the United Nations a few days ago in New York.

I see two priorities. First, let’s make sure it is possible for the IMF and the World Bank to maximise the capacities, taking into account the current capitalisation. It will be necessary sooner or later to consider an increase of capital. Just one example: the World Bank. You take the World Bank in comparison with 60 years ago, the capitalisation compared to global GDP is seven times lower. It means something. If we want to address the challenges, especially in difficult times, in difficult circumstances, they need capacities.

Point two: the decision-making process. We need more inclusivity. I think it is very good that we took the first step – a small step, but a step which was needed – by accepting the African Union into the G20. It is not enough, and I think that we support a debate related to the multilateral model, with the UN at the core of the multilateral system and the need for reform to make sure that there is more inclusivity. If not, some others will be tempted to develop a parallel multilateral model, but not necessarily with the same goals, with the same values and with the same principles.