Joint letter of Presidents Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker on the upcoming G20 summit


Later this week we will be attending the G20 Summit in Osaka on behalf of the EU. The EU shares the same goal as Japan: upholding the rules-based international order and multilateral institutions that underpin it. By supporting the Japanese Presidency, we will address defining challenges of our times. We will call on the G20 leaders to step up action to avoid the existential climate threat, to engage in delivering free and fair global trade, to decrease inequalities, harness the effects of digitalization and to promote a sustainable development.

  1. Boosting global confidence

Economic expansion continues in the EU and globally, although the momentum slowed down in the second half of 2018. Global growth is projected to pick up later this year and continue into 2020, supported by continued accommodative financial conditions, stimulus measures in some countries and dissipating one-off factors. However, trade and geopolitical tensions have intensified. As the premier forum for international economic cooperation, the work of the G20 remains essential to boost global confidence. We should build on our readiness to act together in case of a sharper than expected downturn. We need to monitor risks, take action to mitigate them and stand ready to respond if they materialise. Since the biggest risks are geopolitical and trade tensions, we must use the G20 to lower them.

  1. Towards a better multilateral trading system

International trade and investment are important engines of job creation, growth, development, productivity and innovation. We need to step up non-discriminatory collective efforts to de-escalate trade tensions by addressing their main root causes while acting within the rules-based order. These include levelling the playing field, stopping unfair trade practices; tackling distributional imbalances that go beyond trade; and addressing unilateral actions that undermine the rules-based multilateral trading system.

Last year G20 leaders committed to reform the World Trade Organisation. This process should continue in Osaka. In our view, beyond taking stock of ongoing efforts in Geneva, we should also provide steer to this process by recognising that a balanced reform should cover the three functions of the World Trade Organisation: monitoring, negotiating, and dispute settlement. In this regard, it is our view that Leaders should refer to certain aspects such as the work on transparency and subsidies, e-commerce and the reinforcement of the dispute settlement function, as a matter of urgency, to ensure that the two-stage binding third-party adjudication system remains efficient. Additional progress in the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity is also needed to level the playing field globally We will insist on the need to prolong the mandate of the Forum in its current form to deliver on agreed commitments to reduce overcapacity and eliminate the subsidies that cause it. We will also call for an acceleration of the discussions on the International Working Group to reach an agreement on the new international export finance disciplines by next year.

  1. Harnessing the digital transformation

The Japanese G20 presidency has put forward an ambitious and overarching agenda to harness the benefits of digitalisation. During the last EU-Japan Summit, we expressed our support for the G20 “Data Free Flow with Trust” initiative, which would allow the free flow of data among countries with high levels of privacy protection. It is aligned with the agreement between the EU and Japan, in force as of January this year, which has created the world’s largest area of safe data flows. We also supported the launching of the “Osaka Track” which intends to promote international e-commerce rules. We would like to play an active role in both initiatives.

As the digital transformation of the economy accelerates, ensuring fair and effective taxation has become a global challenge. We will give the highest priority to finding a comprehensive way to tackle the taxation of the digital economy with a view of elaborating a global solution by 2020 supported by a report of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. We should endorse the G20 Guiding principles on Artificial Intelligence, which are in line with the EU ethics guidelines, as well as promote our initiatives to fight online hate speech and disinformation.

  1. Addressing inequalities and ageing societies

The G20 has placed considerable emphasis on the future of work and on societal and demographic changes. These are common challenges for many G20 countries and the EU is no exception. The working-age population of Europe is projected to shrink from 333 million in 2016, to 292 million in 2070. By 2030, the average age of Europeans is estimated to be 45 – older than any other country in the world. We will therefore strongly encourage cooperation among G20 partners on issues related to ageing, including adaptation policies for longer working lives, and for healthy ageing.

We also need to cooperate in tackling inequality in all its forms. This is a priority at the heart of the European Pillar of Social Rights, which sets the framework for fair working conditions, equal opportunities and social protection in the European Union. In Osaka we will call for further efforts to ensure that growth becomes more inclusive and gender imbalances are properly addressed. In this regard, we plan to push for further efforts to meet the target that we endorsed in Brisbane of reducing the gap in labour force participation rates between men and women by 25% by 2025.

  1. Avoiding the existential climate threat and protecting the environment

We need to leave a healthier planet behind for those that follow. At home, the EU is proposing ambitious targets for reducing CO2 emissions by 2030 that are both scientifically accurate and politically indispensable. After the UN climate change conference in Katowice in December 2018, we now have a solid and balanced set of rules applying to all countries for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. In Osaka, we will reaffirm our commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and send a strong message ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit of September 2019 and the Climate Conference (COP25) in December 2019. In the same vein, we should strongly support the G20 Resource Efficiency Dialogue and G20 Marine Plastics Litter Implementation Framework, in line with the EU plastics strategy, to give new impetus to global actions to improve the efficient use of scarce natural resources and preserve oceans.

  1. Strengthening the global financial system

Over the last decade, the G20 has played a crucial role in promoting and coordinating reforms of financial regulation. These reforms have significantly improved the resilience of the global financial system. We will continue to support the work of the Financial Stability Board to evaluate the effects of the regulatory reforms and monitor emerging financial risks and vulnerabilities. We will also encourage further cooperation to ensure that the benefits of financial innovation can be realised, that the financial system is cyber-resilient and that finance is conducive to a green economy. We will also continue to assess the relationship between regulatory policies and market fragmentation.

We believe that the International Monetary Fund should continue to be adequately resourced to preserve its role at the centre of the Global Financial Safety Net. We will therefore continue to support the G20 commitment to a strong, quota-based and adequately resourced International Monetary Fund. We also welcome progress made on the proposals of the G20 Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance, in particular on the creation and implementation of effective country platforms to better coordinate development assistance, enhancing the risk insurance of development finance and the monitoring of capital flows.

  1. Realising an Inclusive and Sustainable World

In view of the upcoming United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Summit in September 2019, we would like to call upon G20 Leaders to reaffirm their commitment to implementing the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. We should express our support for the G20 Principles on Quality Infrastructure Investment that are key to ensure that infrastructure projects are economically, socially and environmentally viable, and contribute to closing the infrastructure gap in developing countries at the same time. Cooperation with Africa must remain a central issue for the G20, including through the G20 Compact with Africa, in line with the priorities set out in the new Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs. In Osaka, we should also encourage G20 members to support stronger and more binding commitments on global antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and set up sustainable financing for health systems in order to achieve Universal Health Coverage.

  1. Fighting terrorism

We will continue to enhance our cooperation to fight against terrorism. While recalling the Hamburg G20 Leaders’ Statement on Countering Terrorism, we will call on all Leaders to commit to its full implementation. We will continue our efforts to fight against terrorist financing, money laundering, online and offline radicalisation and foreign terrorist fighters. We will promote measures to ensure that Internet companies detect and swiftly remove terrorist content, while respecting fundamental rights and freedom of speech, in line with the EU measures to take terrorist content off the web within 1 hour.

  1. Promoting global responsibility on migration and displacement

In light of the 2019 Annual International Migration and Forced Displacement Trends and Policies Report prepared by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development we should highlight the need to continue discussing these issues under the next Presidencies. We would like to promote international cooperation in order to better manage global migration and address forced displacement. The discussions at United Nations level, including in view of the first Global Refugee Forum in December 2019, can contribute to these efforts. We should also step up actions to counter migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings and continue to take action against people smugglers and traffickers.