June 10, 2005


U.S. and Britain Agree on Relief for Poor Nations (ELIZABETH BECKER and RICHARD W. STEVENSON, 6/10/05, NY Times)

The United States and Britain have reached an agreement on how the billions of dollars that the world's poorest nations owe to international lenders can be erased, removing the last impediment to an accord long sought by the richest nations, a senior official involved in the negotiations said Thursday.

Treasury Secretary John W. Snow and his British counterpart, Gordon Brown, the chancellor of the exchequer, will present their proposal to a meeting of the finance ministers of seven of the Group of 8 industrial nations on Friday in London, the official said.

The plan would free 18 countries, most of which are in Africa, from any obligation to repay the estimated $16.7 billion they owe the international lenders, said the official, who requested anonymity because a formal announcement of the agreement had not been made. The debts will be written off by the lenders in an effort to allow the debtor countries to start fresh, get their books in order and eventually be able to borrow again for economic development, health, education and social programs, rather than simply to repay existing loans.

Mr. Bush had signaled his willingness to go along with writing off the debts in principle, but the United States and Britain had very different approaches to how such a plan would work. The compromise they worked out in negotiations in Washington and London over the past several days gave the White House much of what it wanted, but also handed Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain a timely political lift four weeks before a scheduled summit meeting of leaders of the Group of 8 nations, of which Mr. Blair is the current chairman. [...]

The White House has also rebuffed Mr. Blair's efforts to persuade the United States to move closer to the position of the other industrial nations on how to fight global warming.

Hard to see the President agreeing to any global warming scheme that European leaders could take back to their legislatures.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 10, 2005 8:40 AM

Which is it? Do European countries have individual legislatures or just one EU? I'm getting whip lash already.

Posted by: erp at June 10, 2005 9:00 AM


Cough, splutter!!

(They have individual legislatures)

Posted by: Brit at June 10, 2005 9:54 AM

In the grand scheme of EU fedralization, those "individual legislatures" will soon resemble those of the individual states in the U.S. As with Washington D.C., Brussels will set federal policy.

Posted by: ed at June 10, 2005 10:45 AM


Indeed. As the US States have discovered, once you give up the right to regulate commerce, you've given up soverignty altogether.

Posted by: Mike Earl at June 10, 2005 12:04 PM

Brit, My comment was facetious. For clarification, see Ed's comment.

Posted by: erp at June 10, 2005 8:28 PM
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