The G20 Summit: Europe’s Greatest Moment, Or Not? (And a Quiz)

From their pre-meeting, it is reasonably clear what Europeans (except probably the British) want from the G20 summit on Saturday: a road map towards a great deal more regulation, together with agreement that the necessary powers and resources will be provided to implement these new rules at some international level (which could be the IMF or the Financial Stability Forum or the G20, or some combination).

And the Europeans are now apparently saying, on the sidelines, that victory – and a concrete action plan – is within their grasp.  This, of course, raises our expectations and makes us more prone to disappointment.  The White House, on the other hand, has been trying to manage our (and the Europeans’) expectations downwards. 

While we are waiting to learn the outcome of what is probably still a fairly intense conversation, here is a (relevant) pop quiz.

Below is the list of locations for press conferences to be held by participating countries after the conclusion of the summit, kindly provided by Planet Money.  The question is: which of these countries is not actually a member of the G20?  (Answer after the jump)

European Union & France — Willard Hotel
Japan — National Press Club
Italy — Embassy
Australia — National Building Museum
United Kingdon— Ambasssador’s residence
Canada — Embassy
Germany— Ritz carlton Georgetown
South Africa — Park Hyatt Hotel
South Korea –Paloma Hotel
Argentina — Park Hyatt Hotel
Mexico — Embassy of Mexico
Spain — Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Russia — The Washington Club

The answer is: Spain.  If someone can explain to me how exactly they got invited, I would be grateful.  The most plausible explanation is that they are representing the European Union.  But if that is the case, why are they having a separate press conference?

This is relevant to the bigger questions of the day, because part of the issue with regard to global governance/regulation (e.g., at and around the IMF) is the overrepresentation of smaller European countries.  If the G20 will be the vehicle for moving forward a reform agenda, is it better or worse to have many small European voices at the table?

6 thoughts on “The G20 Summit: Europe’s Greatest Moment, Or Not? (And a Quiz)

  1. I am Spanish, and will try to be neutral.

    In that link;

    Spain is 8th, so in a list of 20 it is not unfair to be in. I also know that there are also other criteria to be in, like being an important developing country.

    On the other side I don’t understand why (reading your blog entry, “european expectations vs white house expectations”) seems you suggest that regulation is bad and deregulation is good. Nobody is talking about Communism, we are talking about capitalism with more regulation to prevent things like the current financial crisis derived from the subprime mortages and the subsequent derivaties, which spreaded the risk.

    About why Spain is giving its own conference in that hotel has nothing to do with the Europeans wanting more power or representation. It is because Spain’s president, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero won his 2nd election this past February (or March) denying the crisis (when it was clear that the financial crisis existed) and now after a lot of fighting to be in that meeting wants to look (to the Spanish people) like he is helping resolve this.

    As the crisis never existed for him, (he had ruled 4 years so if the crisis existed he would have had some responsibility, so he insisted that there was no such crisis) … until one month ago, when the unemployment rates in Spain are at an unbearable level, he never did (couldn’t, I can’t fight against something that doesn’t exist) anything to fight the nonexistent crisis.

    Now he acknowledges there is a crisis (of course 100% imported, he says, which is obviously false) and he MUST be there (which in the other hand I think Spain deserves) to help, and if possible LEAD and be the key to resolve it. Just politics, you know. “The crisis came from outside but I will solve it, in Spain and in the world”.

    He have done things bad and out of time. But this is another matter.

    Why is it bad for the White House to have Spain in?

    Why are you terrified at the idea of more regulation? (just in an adequate level)

    Sorry for the spelling and grammatical mistakes I, for sure. have done.

  2. The answers to why Spain was invited can be found here:

    A general formulation of the G20 can be found here:

    France had been given two invites and Mr. Sarkozy gave one of them to Spain as a gesture of goodwill and as a symbolic act of bringing Spain up the equal economic footing of France, UK, Germany, and Italy-eventhough Spain has a smaller population than all four, but has an almost equal GDP to that of Italy’s.

    P.S. I really enjoy Mr. Johnson’s views and tv/ radio appearances.

  3. Alex says it.

    In addition, Zapatero has tried to twist every arm he could get a finger on to attend. Finally, he and the Dutch Prime Minister (who had not tried public arm-twisting) were invited along as part of Sarkozy’s delegation in virtue of France holding the current Presidency of the European Union. It was all excellent material for a comedy sketch.

    I differ from Alex on only one point. No country deserves to attend a function like G-20. It is the sort of thing to which one is condemned. We in Europe created the EU to attend ot that sort of chore.

  4. The article question is, and I quote: “This is relevant to the bigger questions of the day, because part of the issue with regard to global governance/regulation (e.g., at and around the IMF) is the overrepresentation of smaller European countries.”

    Question: Spain is a small European country?

    Looking at the GDP is not.

    Looking at the population – maybe – but there are 600 millions descendants across the Atlantic.

    I’m not Spaniar.

    But I visited Spain in the 70′ and 2000’s and the economy went to dramatic changes in a short time.

    Today it is a big economy – look at the GDP.

    Outside of Europe People does not realize the current size of the Spanish economy because they still have the 20th century memories of the Spanish civil war and the Franco years.

    Answer: Spain is not a small country – anymore!

  5. I belive that european countries should not be present, the EU is the one that should be present, they have the organization and structure to do so already, by allowing individual countries to participate only diminishes and divides the EU as a whole, just like the strength of the USA is in all 50 States, the strength of the EU is in its unity not its divisiveness….

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