Voice

G-20 ministers to talk Eurozone, fiscal cliff

The G-20 finance ministers will be meeting this weekend in Mexico. Recent such meetings have featured plenty of piling on the Europeans about the Eurozone crisis response, but at this iteration the Europeans may be the ones asking some tough questions:

A German government official said on Thursday that Germany would ask the United States again what it was planning to do about the fiscal cliff.

However Germany was expecting to hear that the issue cannot be resolved until after U.S. presidential and congressional elections on Tuesday, a day after the G20 meeting ends.

"You understand that from a European view, these are important questions also for the world economy that we want to factor out," the German government official said.

They won't be getting any answers from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, at least not directly. As Flavia Krause-Jackson and Simon Kennedy pointed out in this piece, Geithner won't be attending. In fact, turnout for the meeting will be underwhelming all around:

As Mexico gears up to host finance officials from the Group of 20 biggest economies a number of key absences threaten to turn the gathering into a non-event.

The no-shows at the Nov. 4-5 meeting in Mexico City include European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, as well as the finance chiefs from Brazil and France. The presence of People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan is uncertain. Without these power- wielding players, chances of having a meaningful gathering are slim to none, analysts said.

The Multilateralist

EU policy differences fray UK coalition

The Guardian reports here on how policy toward the European Union is dividing David Cameron's Tories and their coalition partner Liberal Democrats:

[Deputy prime minister] Nick Clegg has opened up a new front on the EU by launching one of his strongest attacks on David Cameron's plan to use the eurozone crisis to repatriate powers to Britain....

Clegg made clear that coalition relations over the EU remained fragile when he dismissed the prime minister's plans to use a future EU treaty revision to repatriate powers. The EU is expected to revise the Lisbon treaty, possibly after next year's German elections, to provide a legal basis for new eurozone governance arrangements.

Cameron has said he would like to use the negotiations, in which Britain will have a veto, to repatriate some powers. These could be in the areas of social and employment laws.