They largely agreed on the importance of Europe setting an example on energy policies, the need for the G8 to increase commitment to development and aid, and the benefits of G8 expansion. These are the three main policy recommendations from the authors and commenters on Atlantic Community.
1. Europe should take the lead on energy.
Community author Katherina
Reiche of the German Parliament argued for transatlantic cooperation on
climate change and energy policy. Combining technological expertise, thus
reducing costs, will put the transatlantic partners in a leading position on
new energy technologies. Raffaello Pantucci contests this call: Since the US and the EU remain economic
competitors, the EU should increase its lead in new energy technology. Europe
should point the way by including “new polluters” China
in any new treaties, urges Thomas Haelsig. While current agreements are largely non-binding, more drastic
measures are needed as part of a long-term strategy.
2. The G8 should strengthen its commitment to aid and development.
A collective commitment to global justice on the part of G8 countries carries symbolic value, claims Pantucci. The G8 functions as an agenda-setting forum to discuss and coordinate strategies of the wealthiest countries. While the UN may be more inclusive, the excess of voices impedes results. Commentators agreed on the need for more creative and locally tailored help for Africa’s diverse economies instead of a “one size fits all” approach. Western countries should develop more creative strategies when it comes to helping countries with corrupt governments. The population in these countries should not be made to suffer for Western countries’ ineptitude in distribution, says Oliver Hauss.
Western governments must convey to their constituents that unpopular domestic measures need to be taken to help Africa, claims Philipp Rock. Protective policies in developed countries, such as agricultural subsidies, must end. A blanket increase in development assistance is too simplistic to effect a lasting change. Instead specific actions such as anti-AIDS campaigns should be advocated. Jon Frost agrees that there is a political and moral imperative to actively shape the rules and process of globalization to rectify injustices. Lowering tariff barriers would be a case in point.
3. The G8 should expand its membership.
Commentators debated whether an expansion of G8 membership to other countries or to non-state actors could confer more legitimacy upon the forum and thereby improve public perception. Michael John Williams points out that there is no rationale for the present practice of including NGOs yet excluding countries that shoulder responsibility in world affairs. Debating G8 enlargement at the moment is a waste of time, argues Philipp Rock, as the most obvious candidates, China and India, have so far proven unwilling to enter on full membership terms. The G8 must make an effort to convince these countries to take up responsibilities for global development by joining in full.
Atlantic Memos showcase the best ideas and arguments from debates in the Policy Workshop on atlantic-community.org. All policy recommendations in this document were made by registered members of the Atlantic Community. You can download a *PDF copy of this Atlantic Memo here* to distribute to your local or national decision-makers.
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