"Parliaments should play a larger role in global affairs" 

 
 

Share this page: 

Othmar Karas, vice-president in charge of multilateral questions and bodies and international financial institutions, will represent the EP at the G20 Speakers Consultation in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia  

Othmar Karas, who will represent the EP at the G20 Speakers Consultation in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from today until Sunday, calls for parliaments to be heard whenever global decisions are taken. The Austrian Christian-Democrat, the vice-president in charge of multilateral questions and bodies and international financial institutions, will speak on the financial crisis and its impact on the world economy and will present the economic governance legislation adopted by the EP and Council last year.

What is the G20 Speakers' Consultation and what is its role before the G20 summits? What do you expect from the meeting?


The G20 Speakers' Consultation is a meeting of the speakers of the parliaments of the G20 members. It is also an important platform for the European Parliament to strengthen its dialogue with other parliaments. In addition to energy sustainability and the dialogue between cultures, the focus will also be on a topic I have been dealing with for many years: the financial crisis and its impact.


I expect a constructive dialogue in regard to the debt crisis and the creation of the future global financial system as well as of a global economic and social order. Parliaments have to raise their voices and have to be taken into account when paving the way to the G20 summit. In this regard, we should also address the G20's future as such.


Why does the EP participate in this meeting?


The EP participates because the European Union is an important member and co-initiator of the G20. The European Union as a whole decisively contributes to the functioning of the world economy. This is why the EU now boasts nearly one quarter of global output. More than 500 million citizens are being represented by the European Parliament. The legitimacy of decisions is not only important at a European level, but should also play a role in a global context. I will advocate a lively discourse on parliamentarism at the G20 Speakers' Consultation as well as a stronger involvement of people's chambers whenever global decisions have to be taken.


What is the EP's message to the G20 Speakers' Consultation in Saudi Arabia?


The Mexican G20-presidency has declared the strengthening of the financial system and the improvement of the financial architecture as one of its priorities for the June's summit. Another focus will be on the lack of political responsibility and the shared competence of our common currency, the Euro. We are aware that many people look at Europe and expect us to give answers. Of course, I will point out that the EU is willing to draw conclusions from the crisis and that the development to a political union is more than crucial.


Another aspect, I would like to raise is the EU's leading role in implementing global agreements, such as climate goals, environmental standards or financial market regulations. I stand for meeting the goals that we have reached a global agreement for. This will only be achieved with the support of parliaments.