WASHINGTON Oct 12 Financial leaders from the
Group of 20 leading economies should reduce the number of issues
they tackle, agree on measurable targets and set up a permanent
secretariat to revitalise their work, a senior European Central
Bank official said.
"The G20 seems to have lost its earlier momentum. The case
for acting in unison has diminished now that the most acute
phase of the global financial crisis is behind us," ECB
Executive Board Member Joerg Asmussen told a seminar on
The G20, which has taken an active role in strengthening the
financial system in response to the debt crisis of recent years,
came together in 1999 when finance ministers and central bank
governors of the world's 20 biggest economies began meeting to
coordinate policies and achieve global economic stability after
the financial crisis of 1997 and 1998.
The G20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada,
China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the
Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa,
Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European
Asmussen, a former deputy finance minister for Germany, said
that after successes like a coordinated response to a cyclical
downturn, an agreement to boost the resources of the
International Monetary Fund and reform of how it is governed,
the G20 now needs to reform itself to be more effective.
"First, it is essential to return to a more focused agenda.
The G20 should concentrate on topics where it can bring genuine
value added compared to the activities of the formal
institutions which, at the global level, deal with economic
policy matters," Asmussen said in a prepared speech.
He said the G20 should focus on financial regulatory reform,
tax issues, macroeconomic policies and global financing and cut
out additional topics like food security or labour issues.
"My second idea ...is the creation of a permanent
secretariat for the G20. This would help to stay focused and
avoid proliferation of new topics, which each new G20 Presidency
introduces, often with limited results," he said.
Asmussen said a small, dedicated G20 secretariat would
foster continuity on technical topics, especially on issues
which span over several years, like financial regulation.
"A third idea I would like to advance is that the G20 should
strive towards concrete and measurable objectives for policy
action," he said, adding it would help G20 credibility.
For example, it would have been better to have had a more
concrete agreement at the St. Petersburg G20 summit in September
on how advanced economies should shape their fiscal strategies
after their debt stabilizes in 2016 in line with commitments