This page was archived on October 2020.


Key elements of the international system

10 - European policy in the G8, G20 and international financial institutions

Grade: C+
Unity 2/5
Resources 3/5
Strategy 2/5
Impact 2/5
Total 9/20
Scorecard 2015: B- (12/20)
Scorecard 2014: B+ (15/20)
Scorecard 2013: B- (12/20)
Scorecard 2012: C- (7/20)
Scorecard 2010/11: C+ (10/20)

EU members risked US wrath by joining a China-backed development bank, but are still focused on the TTIP trade deal

Neither the G7 nor the G20 played a decisive role in international affairs in 2015. Germany hosted the G7 summit in July, which continued to exclude Russia over its aggression in Ukraine, and focused on development and climate issues. The November G20 summit in Turkey was overshadowed by the Paris attacks, but provided a platform for European governments to talk with Russia over Syria. While this was useful, Turkey’s G20 presidency lacked notable independent initiatives.

Europe’s relations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) continued to be defined by Greece. The Syriza-led Greek government aimed to minimise its dependence on the fund, culminating in a loan default in July. After the new bailout was agreed, however, IMF officials often appeared more lenient towards Athens than their EU counterparts. By year-end, Syriza once again seemed to be aiming to drive a wedge between the IMF and the EU – unintentionally pushing EU officials to reaffirm their faith in the fund.

The World Bank’s tough internal reforms were overshadowed by China’s launch of the AIIB. Fourteen EU members signed up in the first quarter of the year, to the displeasure of Washington. Worried that China was challenging its multilateral leadership, the US targeted the UK for particular opprobrium. This backfired, leading EU members to state their openness to Chinese leadership in parts of the global system. The EU’s engagement arguably pushed China to ensure that the AIIB’s lending standards and governance structures are stronger than would otherwise have been the case, and the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has talked about joint projects.

In the field of international trade, however, the US remained the primary focus for the EU as negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal ground on. The odds of an agreement before the end of the Obama administration remained uncertain by year-end. In the meantime, there was a growing consensus that the WTO, despite striking a deal on information technology in December, should end the stalled Doha Round talks.