39th G8 Summit --- by Dr.Debesh Bhowmik
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. 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 to 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.
According to Cameron, it was also the most difficult issue addressed. However, the leaders were able to overcome major differences and agree to a path forward. 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. 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.
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. 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. The Organization for Economic Co-operation was tasked with gathering data on how multinationals evade taxes.
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. The measure was aimed at helping developing countries collect taxes from first-world companies operating in their territories. A declaration to stop paying ransom demands for kidnap victims was also signed.
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.
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."
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.