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Washington Post: Five Myths About the G20

Author: Robert B. Zoellick, Goldman Sachs & Co.
October 28, 2011

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Robert B. Zoellick straightens out five misconceptions about the G20 summit taking place next week.

Another drama of our financial-crisis era is coming up next week: a G20 summit, where world leaders will gather to develop and debate solutions to the global economic turmoil. But for all their pomp, what do these meetings really accomplish? As President Obama and other heads of government travel to Cannes, France, let’s set straight some misconceptions surrounding these high-level gatherings.

1.The G20 has 20 members.

Actually, the Group of 20 is a group for our times: The numbers don’t add up. The host governments usually invite additional countries, whether to represent particular regions or assuage complaining neighbors. So there are usually about 25 nations present, plus the heads of international organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations. (The European Union has the most seats, usually with six or seven countries as well as representatives of the president of the European Council, the presidency country and the European Commission.)

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