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G8 summit in Evian

G8 summit in Evian

Chancellor Gerhard Schröder will take part in the G8 summit in Evian-les-Bains, France from June 1 to 3. More countries and organizations will be taking part in this year's summit than ever before. In addition to the G8 and the five NEPAD countries who were at last year's summit, President Jacques Chirac invited seven further countries to attend (India, Saudi-Arabia, Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia, Morocco and China). The heads of major development organizations such as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the United Nations were also invited.

By inviting additional members of the political world to attend the summit the French presidency is further developing an established precedent.

The summit will begin with a meeting of the G8 with all the other invited heads of state and government as well as representatives of development organizations on the afternoon of June 1. This will be followed by the first official agenda item, a meeting with the representatives of the five NEPAD countries to discuss one of the central themes of the summit, "development prospects and structures of Africa".

NEPAD stands for "New Partnership for Africa's Development" and is an initiative undertaken by African countries who for the first time emphasize their own collective responsibility for the mass poverty on their continent. NEPAD will be represented at the summit by Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa.

Global economy a key summit topic

On the second day of the summit, June 2, the heads of state and government of the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada and Russia (the group of leading industrial countries plus Russia or G8) will begin their consultations. The state of the global economy will be a focal theme of the summit. The current positive trend in the world economy as well as expectations for the second half of 2003 and the beginning of 2004 hold out hope for stable growth and improved chances of being able to overcome the economic downturn. There is a general hope that after the phase of uncertainty brought about by the war in Iraq it will be possible to get the global economy back on track towards improvement. There will be a strong focus on the need for structural reforms which all the G8 countries see as a task of preeminent importance.

Further topics: regional conflicts, trade, sustainable development and the fight against terrorism

Detailed attention will be given at the summit to the subject of regional conflicts. The main focuses in this connection will be the post-war situation in Iraq and the Middle East peace process. There have been differences of opinion within the G8 on Iraq and the post-war situation there. The passage of a resolution by the UN Security Council on May 22 has improved the prospects for constructive cooperation on Iraq, something that will be of importance for resolving conflicts in the region as a whole.

The G8 heads of state and government will also focus strongly on trade issues, given that trade is the basis for economic growth and improvement of the global economy. Improved access of developing countries to the developed markets of Asia, North America and Europe will be among the topics discussed.

Further summit topics will include sustainable development, debt relief, and the fight against terrorism.

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