Russia and the EU agreed today to pile pressure on President Bush to accept far-reaching changes to the global financial system at the G-20 summit in Washington.
Dmitri Medvedev, the Russian President, said that Russia’s ideas were almost identical to those put forward by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President, on behalf of the EU.
Both men have talked of the need for fundamental changes to post-war institutions such as the International Monetary Fund to take better account of the developing economic powers of the world, while President Bush has appeared reluctant to make major alterations.
In a sign that they are prepared to sideline the outgoing US president, Mr Medvedev backed the call from President Sarkozy for a follow-up summit in February once Barack Obama has taken over.
Mr Sarkozy said after a one-day EU/Russia summit in Nice that he welcomed the meeting of minds with President Medvedev, which came despite lingering disagreements over Russia’s invasion of Georgia.
“Russia’s financial, technical and economic proposals are of singular quality and they are very close to the European proposals,” Mr Sarkozy said.
“I am delighted to know that there is a determination on behalf of the Russian Federation to ensure that something strong comes out of the Washington summit. This should not be a summit held without any positive outcome.”
Mindful that the combined pressure of Russia and the EU will be seen as a concerted effort to force President Bush to make deeper changes than he wants to, Mr Sarkozy added: “I do not say this in a spirit of aggressiveness to anybody but this crisis is very serious and we have to change things on a long-lasting basis.”
President Medvedev said: “The positions that I have and Nicolas has pretty much coincide. We need an appropriate, adequate response, not just a list of decarations, not just hand-shaking, not just photos.”
Looking beyond the remaining weeks of the presidency of Mr Bush, he added: “We need a plan of action. We need to insist on having a fully-fledged agenda and reaching very serious decisions. The positions of Russia and the EU on overcoming the global economic crisis are very close.
“We are not going to create a new Bretton Woods in Washington but we need to make a very serious step in this direction and I am very supportive of the idea of holding another summit after Washington without any serious delays.”