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"The situation is under control, growth is back" Levitte told G20

France - General Assembly - G20 - Seoul Summit - Remarks to the press by Mr. Jean-David Levitte, Sherpa to President Sarkozy

Thank you Mr. President. Thank you for convening this very successful meeting. I would like to start by expressing congratulations and deep gratitude to the Korean presidency because we had a very successful and so well-organized summit, it will be very difficult to follow the Korean presidency, both in terms of substance and organization. For me it was moving to be back to the General Assembly because in a way the G20 started in the General Assembly when President Sarkozy, speaking for the European Union countries, proposed only one week after the beginning of the financial crisis and the collapse of the Lehman Brothers bank to convene a summit of the major countries to react together to the emergency of the crisis. And two months later it was the summit in Washington.

Today we have had five very successful summits and now it is our turn to try to do as well as our colleagues and friends. And it is a rather difficult moment because the feeling of emergency which is a good reason to act is somewhat disappearing. The situation is under control, growth is back but we do think that it is even more necessary to continue. First by implementing what has been decided and to make sure that what has been decided is really implemented so that what happened will never happen again. And second, we think that it is very important to move towards medium term goals such as the reform of the monetary system or the excessive volatility of the prices of commodities or the reform of the multilateral institutions which has started with the World Bank and the IMF.

For these very important goals we will need to work with the UN system, with the General Assembly, with the specialized agencies. And this is exactly why I, together with my friend Ahn Ho-Young, am here today. This is my first visit in this capacity, but certainly if the President invites me to come back I’d be delighted to come back on a regular basis to New York for a very useful, fruitful encouraging dialogue with all the Member States and this dialogue was very candid and I heard loud and clear “don’t forget development” and thanks to Korea we are now working on development. “Don’t forget the G172, all the UN members which don’t belong to the G20”: and that’s exactly what we want to achieve through very comprehensive programmes of outreach but first of all through regular dialogue with the General Assembly members. Thank you very much

Q: On a l’impression que tout s’est très bien passé mais concrètement pour les 172 pays dont vous avez parlé et qui souvent sont laissés pour compte, que se passe-t-il, vous avez parlé aussi des banques, les bonus qui vont être distribués seront phénoménaux. Comment on fait ? Comment peut-on remédier à ce genre de choses ?

I’ll answer in English. Thanks to President Deiss, we had a wonderful dialogue today with the full membership of the UN family. And this was very encouraging because some ambassadors read their declarations, but a number engaged a widely dialogue and this is exactly why we come to New York to hear loud and clear their messages, to take them on board and to take them into account so that when we go back to our governments we may say “please don’t forget this and that”. That is exactly what we will continue to do if President Deiss so decides.

About the banks, bonuses, traders and hedge funds, regulation has been adopted on all these issues. What is important now is to make sure that what has been adopted is implemented and not in one or two countries, everywhere. Because that is the only way to make sure that what happened will never happen again. We are in the process of implementing. If you take what we call “paradis fiscaux”, non cooperative “tax heavens” just to give you that example, it was decided at the request of France and nobody was very enthusiastic at the beginning but it was decided unanimously that we should engage into a process of transparency. Today more than five hundred agreements organizing this transparency have been signed and what is important now is to make sure that they are really implemented. That’s where we are. And you can be certain that we will make sure, all of us, at the G20, that these agreements are implemented. And it is in a way a breakthrough. Two years ago probably most people and most countries thought that tax heavens were a part of the economic life and that they would exist forever. It’s not the situation anymore and it has to be followed one after one to make sure that the decisions and regulations are implemented. It is true also for bonuses; it is true also for other regulations. It’s the only way to make sure that what happened will never happen again.

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