Commentary Type

The G-2: A New Conceptual Basis and Operating Modality for Transatlantic Economic Relations

C. Fred Bergsten (PIIE) and Caio Koch-Weser (Deputy Minister of Finance, Germany)

Paper published in From Alliance to Coalitions-The Future of Transatlantic Relations


This paper proposes the creation of a new "G-2" consultative mechanism through which the European Union and the United States would manage their own economic (and possibly some security) relations and informally steer the world economy. It would address a growing number of issues through different groups of officials from different ministries on both sides of the Atlantic, perhaps loosely coordinated by an "overview group."

The paper begins with a brief enunciation of the rationale for the G-2 and then addresses the key practical questions that would be involved in setting it up and operating it: What topics would it address? Who would address them?

It is essential to stress at the outset that the G-2, in playing its global management role, would be an informal process that would not replace any of the existing institutional mechanisms (including,for example, the G-7/8). To the contrary, it would seek to energize those broader groups, and greatly enhance their effectiveness, by providing leadership within them from the only two entities, the European Union and the United States, that together can make them exercise their own responsibilities more successfully.

It would do so through a constantly iterative process, in which the European Union and the United States would consult actively with other relevant countries in each issue-area to make sure their views were taken fully into account in the G-2's own decision-making.

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