19 July 2013

The first ever G20 Finance and Labour Ministers’ Meeting was held in Moscow

The Joint G20 Finance and Labour Ministers' Meeting was held in Moscow on July 19, 2013. A high-level meeting in such a format was convened for the first time in the G20's history.

The focus of the meeting was the possibility of elaborating coordinated policy by finance and labour and employment ministries in the G20 countries to promote strong, sustainable and balanced growth and a supportive environment for job creation.

The discussion was structured around the two interrelated topics, namely, governments' role in creating incentives and eliminating barriers to investment in job creation, and cost effective social policies to facilitate job creation and inclusive societies.

The Joint G20 Finance and Labour Ministers' Communiqué reflecting the commitments on implementing integrated labour market policies, including employment policies, promoting job creation through investment and development of the financial institutions, as well as fostering favourable investment and business climate in the G20 countries, was adopted on the results of the meeting.

"Employment issues became the focus of the G20's agenda immediately after its transformation from the Finance Ministers' process into the Leaders' process," as reminded by the Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. Improving the situation onto the labour markets is the key issue of the Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth.

"As the G20 presiding country, we are pleased to announce that new commitments to reduce unemployment, particularly among young people, have been undertaken by G20 countries as part of the St. Petersburg Action Plan," Anton Siluanov said. The plan provides for such measures as eliminating skills mismatch, encouraging young entrepreneurship, providing more internship opportunities for youth at public firms and SMEs, and facilitating matching job-seekers with employers.

Anton Siluanov emphasized the strong interrelation between Finance Ministers' and Labour Ministers' agendas. "Macroeconomic and fiscal policies being implemented by financial authorities can have significant impacts on labour markets," he said. "Thus, we need to carefully assess these impacts at the stage of formulating policy decisions. In turn, the Labour and Employment Ministries should develop policies that do not place unjustifiably excessive burden on state budgets. Finding compromise solutions to these issues is crucial," Anton Siluanov said.

The Russian Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Maxim Topilin in his turn noted that stable macroeconomic and financial policies and investments in job creation, promoting a favorable business environment, and providing better access to financing sources for entrepreneurs can only be addressed through joint efforts by labour and finance authorities. "Our joint efforts are becoming particularly important given the financial constraints," Maxim Topilin said. "We must take into account not only our activities and the issues of financing for investment in job creation, but also choose the ones that will lead us to our desired goals in the most efficient way," the Minister said.

According to Maxim Topilin, the social dimension of economy is becoming to play an increasingly important role nowadays. The growth of economic performance indicators is needed so that every person could have an opportunity to get a well-paid and decent job. "We know that only decent work can promote high productivity and economic growth," he concluded.