G8 Finance Ministers’ Meeting Ends in Lecce

Family photo of the G8 Finance Ministers

13/06/2009

The final statement issued by the G8 Finance Ministers’ Meeting, held in Lecce on 12 and 13 June, reports that “there are signs of a stabilisation of the economy, although the situation is still uncertain and significant risks remain to economic and financial stability.”  The G8 finance ministers and EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Joaquin Almunia were joined at the meeting by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the African Development Bank, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the International Monetary and Financial Committee and the Financial Stability Board.

The final statement reports that the G8 finance ministers “remain focused on addressing the ongoing global economic and financial crisis,” although, as a result of the “forceful and coordinated action” taken by the governments to “stabilize the financial sector and provide stimulus to restore economic growth,” a number of positive features seemed to be emerging, in the “recovery of stock markets, a decline in interest rate spreads” and “improved business and consumer confidence.”

Although, the statement continues, we are still “in the middle of the worst crisis since the Great Depression,” and even after recovery starts picking up, “unemployment may continue to rise,” so the countries would  continue to “implement actions to reduce the impact of the crisis on employment and maximise the potential for growth in jobs in the period of economic recovery,” ensuring effective social protection systems as well.

This was why, to quote US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, “it is too early” to start withdrawing the emergency measures adopted to address the crisis, which, the G8 finance ministers opined, had highlighted a number of fundamental weaknesses in the global economy related to “propriety, integrity and transparency.”

In this connection the Lecce meeting discussed the need to lay down stricter common standards of conduct. Thus was born the “Lecce Framework,” named after the city that hosted the meeting: a set of “common principles and standards governing the conduct of international business and finance.” Within the bounds of those common principles, the “Lecce Framework” will work to build on the tools already existing in the five major areas of intervention: corporate governance, market integrity, financial supervision and regulation, tax cooperation and coordination and transparency of macroeconomic policy and data.

Italian Economic and Financial Affairs Minister Giulio Tremonti said that the Lecce Framework “is a development” on previous agreements. He explained during the press conference concluding the Lecce meeting that the new principles delivered far more than the previous formulas. "A reading of the wording reveals that it is much more ambitious,” Tremonti emphasised.

Documents:

- Statement of G8 Finance Ministers