The summit of the 20 most developed and emerging countries in Washington on 15th November was the sign of a unique consensus with regard to establishing regulation, true transparency and monitoring of the financial system, the lungs of the world economy. We would be wrong to underestimate the importance of this meeting since this aspect has been masked slightly by the technicality of the decisions taken. In fact a long, complex multilateral process is just beginning, with the elaboration of new rules designed to avoid the errors that have led to the financial crisis. The next meeting has already been set for April next.
In addition to this the G20 has designated the refusal of protectionism as its motto. This must be maintained and it will not always be easy. Nothing would in fact be worse than adding crisis to the crisis by closing doors and windows to international trade and taking refuge in the vulnerable shelter of national interests. History has taught us that deep crisis, such as the one we are now experiencing, can end in the rise of nationalism, the vector of feelings and conflicts that are often extremely serious. Trade is and remains a factor of peace, progress and a sharing of wealth – conditions which are vital for economic development.
Europe has been heading this trend. The initiative for this meeting was Europe's and it has been France's active, effective presidency that was at the source of this. It also weighed in the content of the decisions taken. The Union that has been open to general, wealthy and prosperous winds after having been seduced for a long time by mirages of a purely financial economy, has come to its senses, rediscovering and asserting its values, convictions and methods. Transparency, regulation, monitoring, common rules; adapted accounting standards, controlled credit rating agencies, all of these demands were taken into account and met with the agreement of the other participants.
In addition to this it has convinced others that international institutions had to be reformed to take on board new realities to the best advantage.
Now we have to convince the world that concerted action in terms of economic revival is necessary worldwide and across Europe. EU Member States must decide together with regard to the support they want to grant to key sectors in their economies and to avoid working on their own under the threat of being totally ineffective. This is about common interest. If the European Union succeeds in doing this, rallied around the Euro, it will necessarily lead the others to do the same. And if, thanks to these measures we can overcome this crisis rapidly we shall be able to say that Europe really is the continent of the 21st century because it will have set the pace; it will have written the music and also the words for the new, ordered tune for the world economy.