39th G8 summit

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39th G8 summit
39th G8 summit official logo
Host country United Kingdom
Date 17–18 June 2013
Venue(s) Lough Erne Resort in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
Follows 38th G8 summit
Precedes 40th G7 summit

The 39th G8 summit was held on 17–18 June 2013, at the Lough Erne Resort, a five-star hotel and golf resort on the shore of Lough Erne in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.[1] It was the sixth G8 summit to be held in the United Kingdom. The earlier G8 summits hosted by the United Kingdom were held at London (1977, 1984, 1991), Birmingham (1998) and Gleneagles (2005).

The official theme of the summit was tax evasion and transparency. However, the Syrian civil war dominated the discussions. A seven-point plan on Syria was agreed after much debate. Other agreements included a way to automate the sharing of tax information, new rules for mining companies, and a pledge to end payments for kidnap victim releases. The United States and the European Union agreed to begin talks towards a broad trade agreement.

Overview[edit]

The Group of Six (G6), started in 1975, was an unofficial forum which brought together the heads of the richest industrialized countries: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. This select few became the Group of Seven (G7) starting in 1976 when Canada joined. The Group of Eight was formed with the addition of Russia in 1997.[2] In addition, the President of the European Commission has been formally included in summits since 1981.[3] The summits were not meant to be linked formally with wider international institutions; and in fact, a mild rebellion against the stiff formality of other international meetings was a part of the genesis of cooperation between France's President Giscard d'Estaing and Germany's Chancellor Helmut Schmidt as they conceived the initial summit of the Group of Six in 1975.[4]

The G8 summits during the twenty-first century have inspired widespread debates, protests and demonstrations; and the two- or three-day event becomes more than the sum of its parts, elevating the participants, the issues and the venue as focal points for activist pressure.[5]

The current form of the G8 is being evaluated. Some reports attribute resistance to the relatively smaller powers such as the UK, Canada and Japan, who are said to perceive a dilution of their global stature. Alternately, a larger forum for global governance may be more reflective of the present multi-polar world.[6]

The forum is in a process of transformation by expanded membership and by other changes.[7]

Location and local dangers[edit]

Lower Lough Erne

The date and location of the summit was announced by British Prime Minister David Cameron in November 2012.[8][1] According to Mark Simpson, the BBC's Ireland Correspondent, the British Government chose Fermanagh for two main reasons: history and geography.[1] Since the formation of Northern Ireland in 1921, there has been tension and violence between its two main communities. The unionist/loyalist community (who are mostly Protestant) generally want Northern Ireland to remain within the United Kingdom, while the Irish nationalist/republican community (who are mostly Catholic) generally want it to leave the United Kingdom and join a united Ireland. From the late 1960s until the late 1990s, these two communities and the British state were involved in an ethno-nationalist conflict known as the Troubles, in which over 3,500 people were killed. A peace process led to the Belfast Agreement and ceasefires by the paramilitary groups involved (such as the republican Provisional IRA, the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force). The Conservative Party government of David Cameron is a unionist one. By holding it in Northern Ireland, Cameron "will hope it sends the message to the rest of the world that the peace process has worked and normality has returned".[1] The second reason is geography. G8 summits have always drawn large demonstrations, but Fermanagh's geography will make it hard for protesters. Much of the Lough Erne Resort is surrounded by water and almost all of the roads within 30 miles are single carriageway.[1]

Lodges at Lough Erne Resort

Some have criticized the decision to hold the summit in Northern Ireland, due to ongoing protests and small-scale violence by both republicans and loyalists.[9] Since the Provisional IRA called a ceasefire at the end of the Troubles, dissident republican splinter groups have continued its paramilitary campaign. The main groups involved in this low-intensity campaign are the Real IRA, Continuity IRA and Óglaigh na hÉireann. Security sources expected that these groups would try to launch an attack during the summit, which "would hijack global headlines".[10]

On 23 March 2013, a car bomb was defused 16 miles (26 km) from the Lough Erne Resort. Republican group Óglaigh na hÉireann said it had planned to detonate it at the hotel but had to abort the attack.[11]

There was also the possibility of disruption and violence involving loyalists. The summit took place during the marching season, when Protestant and loyalist groups (such as the Orange Order) hold parades throughout Northern Ireland.[12] This is a tense time in Northern Ireland and it often results in clashes between the two main communities. Since December 2012, loyalists have been holding daily street protests. They have been protesting against the decision to lessen the number of days the Union Jack flies from Belfast City Hall. Some of these protests have sparked rioting. Protesters discussed holding a Union Jack protest at the G8 summit.[13]

Security preparations[edit]

Police Service of Northern Ireland armoured Land Rovers (in 2011).

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) mounted a huge security operation in County Fermanagh, at Belfast International Airport (where many of the G8 leaders arrived) and in Belfast. The police operation involved about 8,000 officers: 4,500 from the PSNI and 3,500 who were drafted in from other parts of the UK. They were also trained in PSNI riot tactics and to drive its armoured vehicles.[14] The Lough Erne Resort was surrounded by a four-mile long metal fence and razor wire.[15] Lower Lough Erne was made off-limits to the general public[16] and an air corridor between Belfast and the Resort was made a no-fly zone during the summit. British Army Chinook and Merlin helicopters were used to escort political leaders and their entourages to and from the Resort.[17] The PSNI also bought surveillance drones to help police the summit, while in Belfast, landmark buildings were guarded round-the-clock.[18]

The PSNI said it would "uphold the right to peaceful protest" but that there were to be "consequences" for any protesters who broke the law. More than 100 cells at Northern Ireland's high-security prison, Maghaberry, were set aside for any violent protesters[14] and a temporary cell block was built in Omagh.[19] Anyone arrested during protests at or near the resort were taken to the Omagh holding centre to be questioned and held before going to court.[19] Sixteen judges were put on standby to preside over special court sittings.[19] PSNI superintendent Paula Hilman said "We will be able to have a detained person processed, interviewed if required, charged, and appear before the court in a very short time, in a matter of hours".[19] Some protest groups feared that the PSNI would use the dissident republican threat as an excuse for repressive measures against protesters.[14] The Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) planned to send human rights observers to monitor the PSNI. CAJ deputy director Daniel Holder said his organization was "firmly and absolutely opposed to the use of plastic bullets", which he said had been fired on 12 occasions in Northern Ireland over the past year.[14]

In the Republic of Ireland, almost 1,000 officers from the Garda Síochána mounted a security operation along the border.[20] Eight temporary border checkpoints were manned by Garda units backed up by the Irish Army.[21] The Garda's elite tactical team, the Emergency Response Unit (ERU), and the special operations forces from the Defence Forces, the Army Ranger Wing (ARW), were deployed on land and water to secure the border from unauthorised crossings.[22] Some of the delegations attending the summit stayed in the Republic,[21] and protesters announced their intention to hold demonstrations in Dublin. Like in Northern Ireland, a special court had also been set up in the Republic to deal with protesters who were arrested there. The court operated day and night at Cloverhill Prison in Dublin. Suspects remanded in custody would then be moved through a tunnel from the courthouse to the adjoining jail.[23] Meanwhile, American warships were deployed off the coast of County Donegal and in the Irish Sea as security measures.[24]

The cost of the summit is expected to be about £60 million. The Northern Ireland Government will pay £6 million and the British Government will pay for the rest.[25]

Participants[edit]

G8 leaders (left to right): Herman Van Rompuy, Enrico Letta, Stephen Harper, François Hollande, Barack Obama, David Cameron, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, José Manuel Barroso and Shinzō Abe.
Barack Obama with Vladimir Putin at the summit.

The attendees included the leaders of the eight G8 member states, as well as representatives of the European Union. A number of national leaders, and heads of international organizations, are traditionally invited to attend the summit and to participate in some, but not all, G8 summit activities.

The 39th G8 summit was the first and only summit for Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta.

Core G8 participants[edit]

Core G8 members
Host state and leader are shown in bold text.
Member Represented by Title
Canada Canada Stephen Harper Prime Minister
France France François Hollande President
Germany Germany Angela Merkel Chancellor
Italy Italy Enrico Letta Prime Minister
Japan Japan Shinzō Abe Prime Minister
Russia Russia Vladimir Putin President
United Kingdom United Kingdom David Cameron Prime Minister
United States United States Barack Obama President
European Union European Union José Manuel Barroso Commission President
Herman Van Rompuy Council President
Invited leaders

Agenda[edit]

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership meeting at the G8 summit on 17 June 2013.

Officially, tax evasion and transparency were the themes of the summit. However, the Syrian civil war dominated the agenda. According to Cameron, it was also the most difficult issue addressed. A declaration signed by the eight nations outlines a seven-point plan for Syria. It calls for more humanitarian aid, "[maximizing] diplomatic pressure" aiming for peace talks, backing a transitional government, "[learning] the lessons of Iraq" by maintaining Syria public institutions, ridding the country of terrorists, condemning the use of chemical weapons "by anyone", and instilling a new non-sectarian government.[29] They called for UN investigations into the use of chemical weapons with the promise that whoever had used them would be punished. Although Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was not mentioned by name in the declaration, Cameron said it was "unthinkable" that he would remain in power.[29]

Agreements were also reached on global tax evasion and data sharing. The G8 nations agreed to tight rules on corporate tax that sometimes allow companies to shift income from one nation to another to avoid taxes.[29] They agreed that shell companies should have to disclose their true owners, and that it should be easy for any G8 nation to obtain this information. Going forward, corporate and individual tax information will be shared automatically to help detect tax fraud and evasion.[30] The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development was assigned to gather data on how multinationals evade taxes.[29]

The G8 nations agreed that oil, gas, and mining companies should report payments from the government, and likewise that the government should report the resources they obtain.[29] The measure was aimed at helping developing countries collect taxes from first-world companies operating in their territories.[30] A declaration to stop paying ransom demands for kidnap victims was also signed.[29]

During the summit the United States and the European Union (EU) announced they would enter into trade deal negotiations. Canadian PM Stephen Harper said the EU and Canada were close to wrapping up a similar deal after years of negotiations which should not be affected by the US-EU announcement.[29]

Harper and Obama also had an informal meeting to discuss border relations during the summit. Harper said they discussed "a range of Canada-US issues that you would expect, obviously the Keystone pipeline."[29]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "What Makes Fermanagh an Attractive G8 Location". BBC News. 20 November 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Saunders, Doug. "Weight of the world too heavy for G8 shoulders," Globe and Mail (Toronto). 5 July 2008.
  3. ^ Reuters: "Factbox: The Group of Eight: what is it?", 3 July 2008.
  4. ^ Reinalda, Bob and Bertjan Verbeek. (1998). Autonomous Policy Making by International Organizations, p. 205.
  5. ^ "Influencing Policy on International Development: G8," BOND (British Overseas NGOs for Development). 2008.
  6. ^ Kumar, Rajiv. "Tangible Results of Pittsburgh," Financial Chronicle. 30 September 2009.
  7. ^ Congressional Record Service, R40977: Nelson, Rebecca M. "Implications of the transition from G-7 to G20," pp. 22–26. The G-20 and International Economic Cooperation: Background and Implications for Congress, 9 December 2009.
  8. ^ G8 Summit venue: Lough Erne Gov.UK, 6 February 2013.
  9. ^ "Northern Ireland needs G8 summit in Fermanagh like a hole in the head, warns Green MLA". The Belfast Telegraph, 1 March 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  10. ^ "Report says New IRA is planning terrorist attack on G8 summit in Fermanagh". IrishCentral. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  11. ^ "Terror group claims car bomb was meant for Northern Ireland G8 summit". The Guardian, 25 March 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  12. ^ Jarman, Neil. Material Conflicts: Parades and Visual Displays in Northern Ireland. Berg, 1997. p.209
  13. ^ "Flag protesters warn they may target G8 summit". Fermanagh Herald, 24 January 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  14. ^ a b c d "Anti-G8 protesters fear 'heavy-handed' police response". BBC News, 1 June 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  15. ^ "Fortress Ulster – the G8 lockdown begins as Obama and Co head to Fermanagh". Belfast Telegraph, 14 June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  16. ^ "Lower Lough Erne: Police to close lake for G8". BBC News, 25 April 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  17. ^ "Area to become no-fly zone for G8". Belfast Telegraph, 10 June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  18. ^ "24-hour security for Belfast landmarks". UTV News, 10 June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  19. ^ a b c d "G8: Courts 'can deal with 260 protest arrests a day'". BBC News, 11 June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  20. ^ "24-hour security planned for Belfast landmarks during G8 summit – VIDEO". Irish Central. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  21. ^ a b "900 Garda officers in G8 operation". Belfast Telegraph, 5 June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  22. ^ "Anti-capitalist and republican security threats dominate preparations for G8 summit in Northern Ireland". IHS Inc. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  23. ^ "Special court to help tackle G8 protesters". Irish Independent, 10 June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  24. ^ Obama's clan plan to avoid G8 protests Sunday Independent, 16 June 2013.
  25. ^ "Executive will pay £6m of £60m bill for G8 summit". BBC News, 3 June 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  26. ^ a b "Council of the European Union". European Union. Retrieved 18 June 2013. Presidencies 2011–2020 ... Ireland January–June 2013. 
  27. ^ a b "Enda Kenny says G8 summit an Irish opportunity". RTE News. 16 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013. As chair of the rotating EU Presidency, Mr Kenny will attend talks on the fringes of the proceedings. 
  28. ^ a b Beesley, Arthur (18 June 2013). "US and EU leaders approve wide-ranging trade talks – Deal approved on sidelines of G8 summit in Fermanagh has potential to generate revenue in excess of €300 billion for global economy". The Irish Times. Retrieved 18 June 2013. “The potential is enormous. We would see several thousand jobs for Ireland coming out of this,” said Taoiseach Enda Kenny after talks on the sideslines of the G8 summit with US president Barack Obama and the leaders of Britain, Germany, France and Italy. 
  29. ^ a b c d e f g h "G8 leaders agree to 7-point plan on Syria as summit wraps". CBC News. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  30. ^ a b "G8 leaders agree tax evasion measures". BBC. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°23′52″N 7°41′36″W / 54.3978°N 7.6933°W / 54.3978; -7.6933