Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France, and visiting Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva called Tuesday, July 7, for a more "democratic world order" that would give emerging economies a larger voice in international finance and justice affairs.
The two presidents promised to take the campaign, called the Alliance for Change, to the Group of Eight, G8 summit in Italy, which started this Wednesday. "Brazil and France have the same discourse, the discourse of change," Sarkozy said at a joint news conference after a more than hour-long meeting with president Lula.
"We want change so that there is more justice, more balance …. We demand change in world growth." Sarkozy said the two would press their project with other leaders in Italy and were seeking a private meeting with President Barack Obama.
"We are going to try to convince our partners and our friends … of the need to in a way profit from the opportunity of the crisis which has caused such suffering, to undertake the changes we need," Sarkozy said. The goal, he said, is that "nothing will be like before the crisis".
Brazil has long argued that G-8, which brings together the leading western industrialized nations, has grown too small for a globalized world and emerging giants like Brazil, China and India (BRIC group) have a growing share and are more firmly rooted since the start of the economic downturn.
"The multilateral system was conspicuously unrepresentative and lacking in coherence. The ability of international institutions to respond to the serious challenges of today's world needs to be reinforced and their mandates reviewed," the presidents wrote in a joint essay carried Tuesday in newspapers in France and Brazil and the New York Times.
They said the UN Security Council, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund should give more weight to developing economies.
Lula was blunter in an interview published Tuesday in the French daily Le Monde: "The G-8 no longer has a reason to exist," in economic terms, he said.
No further details surfaced about the Alliance for Change, or who would take part of the initiative. However plans were announced to work together in several unnamed African countries on projects not yet announced.
"We think the 21st century is the century when countries must make a difference in Africa" said Lula. He added developing countries deserve better treatment in the sports realm, too, pushing Rio de Janeiro's bid for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Further on the Brazilian president said that the US dollar would remain important for decades as an international reserve currency but he believed it was possible to develop new trade relations, not dependent on the dollar.
In the interview with Le Monde, Lula said the world's dependence on the dollar was not a good thing and alternatives were needed. Debate on the issue would last a very long time, however.
"The dollar will still be important for decades. Replacing it in world trade is not a simple thing. But Brazil believes in the possibility of new trade relations not dependent on the dollar," Lula was quoted by Le Monde.