Can Europe Really Cram 17 Leaders in One Chair?

By Kati Suomenin
Tuesday, 22 November 2011

WASHINGTON—The European Commission’s economic proposals to be unveiled on Wednesday will include a call for the Eurozone nations to pool their representation at the board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) into a single seat. Designed to boost the currency bloc’s clout at a time when emerging markets are seeking greater powers in the world body, the proposal is bound to meet resistance — not in Beijing or Brasilia, but right next door to Brussels, in Berlin and Paris.

The Commission’s calls for a single European seat go back a good decade, and reflect its interest in concentrating power in Brussels. Other prominent sponsors of the idea have included the former head of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet, EU president Herman Van Rompuy, and the Fund’s former managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Today, the Commission’s calls are motivated by a sense of a global assault on European powers in the world body. Reserve-rich emerging markets such as China and India have expressed a willingness to rescue the ailing eurozone from its prolonged financial crisis, but in return would likely want expanded voting share at the IMF, where European nations (EU plus Norway and Switzerland) collectively still hold a hefty 34 percent of the total vote — and the subset of eurozone nations hold 20 percent. Europeans also hold a third of the 24 board seats; eurozone nations Germany and France, as well as Britain, have their own, nonrotating chairs, along with China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Japan, while Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and non-eurozone EU member Denmark as well as Switzerland represent groups of countries.

Read More

  • Share/Bookmark
This entry was posted in Articles, Featured. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • About AP

    Atlantic Partnership exists to educate the public in national and international political and economic issues, including those values and ideals of good governance and constructive relations between countries, particularly but not exclusively those in the transatlantic community embracing Europe and North America. It is a non-partisan organisation and does not seek to inculcate or promote a particular point of view.
  • Stay Up to Date

    Follow Atlantic Partnership on Twitter @AtlanticPARTN or Facebook to read selected articles on issues of transatlantic importance, read partner articles, and view AP events.

  • Disclaimer

    Atlantic Partnership is not a membership organisation, does not charge any fees for participation in its events or remunerate its speakers. Its resources are correspondingly modest. But within them it aims to bring together diverse audiences whom it believes will benefit from the opportunity to listen and debate with its invited speakers and apply the lessons learned to their own particular challenges in the broad areas of public policy and international relations. Atlantic Partnership (whose registered name is the Atlantic Education Project) is a registered charity in England and Wales. It cooperates closely with its sister organisation, Friends of Atlantic Partnership Inc, an American not-for-profit (501/C/3) organisation, exchanging information and passing on experiences, while retaining its independence and separate governance.