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From Birmingham 1998 to Köln 1999
Country Report

European Union

~ Country Objectives ~

European Union Objectives for the Cologne G8 Summit

Although the European Union has not yet held any briefings, we believe the top issues the EU will likely address at the Cologne G8 summit include the following:

  1. Trade: The EU Commission has authority to speak for the 15 members of the EU on matters of world trade and it has shown strong support for a new round of comprehensive multilateral trade negotiations likely to be launched at a WTO ministerial meeting in November. This area will be an important topic for the EU. In addition to supporting further trade liberalization, Trade Commissioner Sir Leon Britain has been vocal about his wish to address specifically the built-in agenda from the previous Uruguay Round. We anticipate that new issues of concern for the EU will be the environment and trade, and both increased transparency of the negotiating process and participation by civil society.

  2. Kosovo: Due to the large expected costs of restoring Kosovo, the EU is expected to be called upon to contribute substantially to the process. With the Commission's successful leadership of the G24 in assisting the Central and Eastern European countries since the early 1990s, the EU clearly has an important role to play.

  3. Debt Relief: Germany has proposed a debt initiative to reduce the debts of 40 Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) by two thirds. We can expect that this proposal will involve contributions from the European Development Fund (EDF) in the amount of approximately $1 billion, although this figure has not yet been confirmed.

As soon as the European Union schedules a briefing, we will confirm this information and update you with the latest developments.

Prepared by Heidi Ullrich, University of Toronto G8 Research Group, June 1999

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