Common positions would increase Europe’s influence

Professor Stephany Griffith-Jones (picture UNDESA Development Forum)

Common positions would increase Europe’s influence – In the Financial Times

By Stephany Griffith-Jones and Richard Jolly
Published: June 11 2007 03:00 | Last updated: June 11 2007 03:00
From Prof Stephany Griffith-Jones and Prof Sir Richard Jolly.

Sir, Wolfgang Munchau (“Sarkozy’s plans are bad economic governance”, May 28) made an interesting case for European co-ordination in international institutions.

Eurozone countries already speak with one voice at the International Monetary Fund on matters related to the euro – but not on many other matters, nor in many other forums. Is there enough commonality of views among European Union countries to start thinking about increasingly co-ordinated positions on other issues in institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank, the Group of Eight and the United Nations?

Given the fact that the votes of the EU countries within the IMF and World Bank reach well over 30 per cent of the total (almost double the US share) and European contributions account for very much more than US financial contributions to the UN’s budgets, common positions would significantly increase European influence in these institutions. By not doing so, Europe is “punching below its weight”.

When Europe takes common positions, for example in the United Nations, on matters such as climate change, it often has had a clearly positive influence. Should Europe not do this more often and more systematically? It would not just be to Europe’s advantage, but also could also strengthen multilateral institutions, badly needed in a world of growing interdependence.

Stephany Griffith-Jones and Richard Jolly
Institute of Development Studies, Sussex University, Brighton BN1 9RE

About the Author