While the jury is still out on how successful the G20 in Seoul actually was, the summit closed with all eyes fixed on France’s Nicolas Sarkozy as he got ready to take over the group’s presidency.
Paris is pushing an ambitious agenda – it includes overhauling the global monetary system. Whether it can be achieved is another matter. After two days in the South Korean capital leaders struggled to reach even an outline deal – the more detailed fine print has been pushed back until next year.
Washington’s currency dispute with Beijing also still appears to be a real source of tension.
Nevertheless, Europe’s leaders in Seoul were able to calm fears over Ireland’s potentially imminent bankruptcy.
Investors with Irish interests had been jittery they would have to bear heavier losses under new EU rules. Those have been put off. The Irish Taoiseach also insisted no bail out was needed yet.
“We’ve made no application whatsoever for funding. We don’t have to borrow any money in respect of the sovereign debt or the sovereign issues that affect the government, and the running of the country,” Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said.
Leaders have been keen to stress real progress has been made, but the critics beg to differ, claiming this year’s G20 has shown little proof the world economy is on a safer economic footing.