Francophone leaders back Sarkozy’s finance summit

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French-speaking countries gathered over the weekend for a major summit in Canada “unanimously” backed French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s demand for multinational talks to revamp the global financial system.

Francophone countries called for the establishment of a “more consistent” system with improved “transparency, integrity and banking strength in global economic governance,” supporting Sarkozy’s request last week for discussions to take place before the end of the year (EURACTIV 16/10/08). 

“No country is immune from the turmoil that undermines global credit markets and the turbulence that rocked our markets requires urgent intervention and coordination,” read the final declaration of leaders attending the 12th Francophony Summit in Quebec City. Co-hosted by the administrations of Canada and Quebec, the summit gathered over fifty heads of state and government from French-speaking nations from 17-19 October 2008. 

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper described the meeting as “the first major forum for developed and developing states and governments to exchange views on the crisis, expressing his hope that the talks would contribute to further international cooperation. 

“Nobody wants extra rules. Nobody wants protectionism. What we want is simply regulation of the financial system that is coherent and harmonious” across the globe, said French Prime Minister François Fillon, while Sarkozy called for a capitalism that was “more respectful” to humanity and the planet. 

Francophone countries “must work collectively to bring concrete and realistic solutions to address the crises that are affecting our planet,” Harper added, urging governments to modernise the OIF (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie) by improving its “preventive diplomacy and mediation capacities”.

Climate pledge 

On climate change, leaders pledged to reduce their collective greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050, announcing their intention to draft a “concerted Francophone position” for the forthcoming Pozna? and Copenhagen rounds of international climate talks. Harper stressing that Canada “understands that least developed countries do not have the same resources as developed countries to manage climate change and adaptation”.

Promoting French language 

Governments also adopted a resolution promoting the use of the French language, calling for measures to be taken to “guarantee that French is “fully recognised by all OIF members as well as on the world stage” and to “defend multilingualism”. 

They committed to promoting the use of French in international relations, boosting the status of French in educational systems and increasing funding for the TV5 Monde television channel, described by Harper as “an ideal tool for conveying Canadian values around the world”. 

Francophony summits are held every two years, with the next one set to be hosted by Madagascar or the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2010. 

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