The EU found itself in disarray in the G20 as it struggled to resolve the euro crisis whilst Russia edged into closer co-operation with the other BRICS countries.
The G20 was one of the primary forums in which EU weakness and disunity as a result of the euro crisis was exposed in 2011. In particular, Russia drifted further from the EU than in the previous year. It increasingly issued statements with the other BRICS countries – especially in the context of the euro crisis, which dominated the summit in Cannes in November.
Herman Van Rompuy described co-operation with Russia in the G20 as being “very good”, but, though dialogue was ongoing, the EU did not succeed in achieving concessions from Moscow. Russia did not compromise in its opposition to the French proposal for a global financial transaction tax, a position it shared with the other BRICS countries. Russia also used the G20 to vocally criticise volatility in the eurozone. Russia also rejected an initiative proposed by Brazil to directly contribute to the bailout of eurozone economies. Russia was more co-operative on the issue of the IMF, which was discussed at the G20. Together with India and China, Russia backed increased funding for the IMF. Russia reiterated its willingness to lend to the eurozone under strict conditions through the IMF, a position shared with other BRICS. Russia reiterated the central place of co-operation with Beijing in its G20 strategy and made a joint statement on G20 affairs in June.
In the G20, Russia did not play a frontline role but neither did it have to compromise on its strategic interests in the forum. It has seen its role as a traditional counterweight to Western influence eclipsed by China and India in the G20. Russia did secure the sought-after right to host the forum in 2013.