G8 Summit: Generating the Gleneagles Effect

Behind the media hype, what should we expect from the Gleneagles G8 summit? And how far will it answer the critics who say it is an expensive waste of effort? There may be less value in dramatic new initiatives, soon neglected, and more in political encouragement to existing projects, which bear fruit later.

The World Today Published 1 June 2005 Updated 15 October 2020 5 minute READ

Nicholas Bayne

Former British diplomat and author of Staying Together: the G8 Summit Confronts the 21st Century, Ashgate, 2005

The G8 Summit to be hosted by Prime Minister Tony Blair in Scotland next month is the direct descendant of the first gathering, at Rambouillet thirty years ago. Andrew Shonfield, then Director of Chatham House, commended the ‘Rambouillet effect’ in The World Today for May 1976, because ‘political decisions taken at a high level … galvanise national officials … obsessed by the minutiae of narrowly conceived national interests’.

The summit today pursues the same objectives as its predecessor back in 1975: political leadership in overcoming bureaucratic blockages; collective management by Europe, North America and Japan; and reconciling the domestic and international pressures created by advancing globalisation. But can we hope for a Gleneagles effect? And what would it be if we got it?

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