G20 leaders focus on creating jobs, tackling tax evasion
The Group of 20 cut its teeth in the global financial crisis of 2009, achieving unprecedented cooperation between developed and emerging nations to stave off economic collapse which has not been matched since. Source: Reuters
On Sept. 6, the G20’s agenda for the second day was mainly focused on Business20 and Labor20 recommendations presented at the summit in St. Petersburg, which among other things, envisaged job creation and fighting tax evasion as the key factors behind economic growth.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said that, despite being damaged by the economic crisis, Britain has seen a recovery over the last three years, mainly because of creation of 1.3 million private sector jobs.
“There are more British people employed in the private sector than ever in our history; there are more women in work than ever in our history; and I put that down quite largely to the fact that we have a flexible labor market,” Cameron said.
The British leader also stressed that nothing hinders economic growth so much as tax evasion and lack of transparency.
“For individual businesses, if you’re playing by the rules and paying taxes, but someone else is avoiding, your tax bills will be higher—so the honest have nothing to hide,” Cameron said. “If we’re going to stop tax evasion and crack down on aggressive and unfair tax avoidance, it’s vital to have transparency about who owns which company.”
Cameron’s comments resonated with Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, who said that Europe has started implementing short-term measures to boost employment.
“We decided on short-term measures to give young people a guarantee that, four months after they leave school, they will have an offer for a job, a traineeship, or an internship. This guarantee will have to be implemented and developed by all states of the European Union,” Van Rompuy said.
Italian leader Enrico Letta stressed that the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg was the first G20 Summit that focused on job creation, recovery and growth, rather than anti-crisis measures and emergency steps.
Russia became the first country among those presiding over the G20 to set forward a Labor20 outreach group and to initiate a meeting of the G20 labor and finance ministers.
“Russia’s presidency at the G20 brought a new tradition for the summit—meetings of labor and finance ministers, which eventually will facilitate implementation of economic and labor reforms,” said Mikhail Shmakov, who heads the Labor20 outreach group that consists of representatives of trade unions from G20 member-states.
“There is always a danger that business comes with one set of demands to cut taxes, cut regulation, while labor wants to put up wages, have more social protection, and those two don’t meet. That hasn’t happened today; they all have worked closely together,” said Cameron.
G20 leaders also met with Russian and international CEOs, who presented policy recommendations ranging from investments to innovation and development.
Viktor Vekselberg, the head of Renova and the Skolkovo innovation center, said that his working group on innovation has submitted to the G20 four priorities — energy efficiency, information technology, welfare and defending intellectual property.
For the first time in the G20 Summit’s history, Russia will introduce a mechanism for monitoring the implementation of recommendations, Alexander Shokhin, the head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, said.