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The Prospective Agenda for the
G8 Finance Ministers Meeting on Febuary 10-11, 2006

Laura Sunderland
Senior Researcher, G8 Research Group
January 16, 2006

See also Prospective Agenda for G8 St Petersburg Summit

In Washington on January 13, 2006, Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin stated that the agenda for the G8 Finance Ministers meeting had not yet been coordinated.[1] Kudrin indicated that the ministers will discuss the financial provisions for, and "serious financial aspects" of, the issues to be dealt with at the leaders' Summit in St. Petersburg: energy security, infectious disease (including bird flu), and educational programs (including long-distance learning).[2]

On January 13, 2006, in Washington, US Treasury Secretary John Snow stated that while the agenda for the G8 Finance Ministers meeting is still under discussion, "one of the things that could be on the agenda would be the energy outlook, picture and greater transparency in energy data, which is becoming a bigger issue."[3] Snow noted that both energy demand and supply issues are important.[4]

Treasury Secretary Snow stated that the impact of a health pandemic on the global economy is another potential topic for the Finance Ministers meeting, citing AIDS and bird flu as examples.[5] Snow also noted that the ministers would also likely discuss "this whole question of [budget and trade] imbalances and what can be done about them."[6]

In an interview with Kommersant, German Finance Minsiter Peer Steinbruck stated that: "According to plan, preparation for the summit in St. Petersburg will be at the center of both meetings of finance ministers of the G8 under the chairmanship of Russia, the one in February and the one in June 2006. It cannot be said yet when Russia will be fully integrated into the process connected with the meetings of the finance ministers of the G7 or 8. The more Russia opens its economy, the more it takes on global responsibility, the higher the chances are. Russia's active participation in the initiative to write off the debts of developing nations with very high debt burdens is, of course, a very important step in that direction."[7]

On January 11, 2006, Russian Finance Minister Kudrin announced that the G8 Finance Ministers will meet in Moscow on February 10-11, but that the agenda for the meeting is still open. Analysts expect few initiatives of immediate significance for the financial markets to come out of the meeting the meeting.[8] Unlike previous G7 Finance Ministers meetings, the members' central bank governors will not attend.[9] Kudrin stated that the central themes for the G8 Summit, specifically the worldwide fight against disease, the stability and transparency of energy markets, and educational programs, "will be discussed at the level of finance ministers too."[10]

In the wake of the controversy surrounding Russian energy supplies to the Ukraine, Russian Finance Minister Kudrin noted that Russia aims to increase supplies of oil, coal and gas to world markets, stating that: "When it comes to energy supplies, Russia will not just think of its own interests."[11]

After meeting with German Finance Minister, Peer Steinbruck, Russian Finance Minister Kudrin told reporters on January 11, 2006, that the they will continue consultations on the early payment of Russian debt to the Paris Club, where Germany is Russia's largest creditor. Specifically, Kudrin stated that, "We have agreed that we will continue our consultations on Russia's early payment on its Paris Club debt."[12]

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Notes

[1] Itar-Tass(January 13, 2006), "Russia's Kudrin discusses with colleagues plans of G8 work."

[2] Itar-Tass(January 13, 2006), "Russia's Kudrin discusses with colleagues plans of G8 work."

[3] Gulf Daily News, Bahrain (January 14, 2006), "Energy crisis will top G8 agenda says US."

[4] Gulf Daily News, Bahrain (January 14, 2006), "Energy crisis will top G8 agenda says US."

[5] Reuters(January 14, 2006), "United States Treasury's Snow says energy to be a top G8 item."

[6] Reuters(January 14, 2006), "United States Treasury's Snow says energy to be a top G8 item."

[7] Minaev, Sergey (January 13, 2006), "It is unclear when Russia will be fully integrated into the Ministers of Finance meetings," Kommersant.

[8] Smith, T. Geoffrey (January 11, 2006), "German Fin Min: No Deal On More Repayment of Russian Debt," Dow Jones International News.

[9] Smith, T. Geoffrey (January 11, 2006), "German Fin Min: No Deal On More Repayment of Russian Debt," Dow Jones International News.

[10] Smith, T. Geoffrey (January 11, 2006), "German Fin Min: No Deal On More Repayment of Russian Debt," Dow Jones International News.

[11] Reuters, "January 11, 2006), "Russian FinMin sketches out Feb. 10-11 G8 agenda."

[12] RIA Novosty (January 11, 2006), "Russian, German finance ministers discuss G8 ministerial meeting."

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