G8 must seize the day at Fermanagh summit: Cameron
David Cameron has told fellow G8 leaders they must start work now on preparing “bold steps” to take when they meet in Northern Ireland in June for the annual summit.
The Prime Minister, in a letter marking the start of the UK's presidency of the group, warned he would not allow a summit where rich nations “simply whip out a chequebook at the 11th hour, pledge some money and call it a success”.
And he signalled that the UK was looking for concrete moves in three key areas — including the potential for signing up to an anti-corruption measure for extraction industries to encourage poorer countries to follow suit.
There could also be new measures to tackle global tax avoidance, he suggested.
The summit will see US President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders gather for two days at the Lough Erne golf resort in Co Fermanagh.
It will be the first time the annual summit has been held in the UK since Gleneagles in Scotland in 2005 — the last time the British Government chaired the G8.
In his letter, Mr Cameron said the world continued to face “grave economic uncertainty” in 2013 and that the top priority would remain each country's own domestic challenges.
But he added: “As leaders of eight countries making up around half of the world's entire GDP, the ambitious standards we set and the bold steps we take by working together through the G8 can make a tangible difference by firing up economies and driving prosperity, not just in our own countries, but all over the world.
“At Lough Erne we can seize this opportunity. At the heart of my agenda for the summit are three issues — advancing trade, ensuring tax compliance and promoting greater transparency.
“All of them are areas where I believe the G8 can play a distinctive role, using our commitment to open economies, open governments and open societies to support enterprise and deliver economic growth.
“But to achieve this will require strong political leadership and months of detailed policy work from our teams.
“This G8 will not be the kind of summit where we simply whip out a chequebook at the 11th hour, pledge some money and call it a success. What we are talking about are long-term changes in our countries and the rules that govern the relationships between them,” he said.
Enniskillen is often associated with one of the worst IRA atrocities of the Troubles, but now the G8 summit this summer will see the world’s most powerful leaders converge on Fermanagh’s Lough Erne resort. It will be one of three major events in Northern Ireland this year — the UK City of Culture in Londonderry and the World Police and Fire Games in Belfast being the others.