2009 G20 London summit



2009 G20 London summit

G20 Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy

Official logo of the conference
Official logo of the conference
 Host countryUnited Kingdom
 Date2 April 2009
  • ExCel London,
  • London,
  • United Kingdom,
  • G20
  • Spain
  • Netherlands
  • ASEAN,
  • EU,
  • UN,
  • World Bank,
  • IMF,
  • WTO,
  • FSF,
 Follows2008 G20 Washington Summit
 Precedes2009 G20 Pittsburgh Summit
Whatsapp Group
Telegram channel


Some people didn’t like how the police handled the event, especially after Ian Tomlinson died.

According to information released in June 2013, the British government’s spy agency, Government Communications Headquarters, had listened in on computer and phone calls made by foreign summit guests. The British government approved of what they did, and information was sent to leaders in the British government.


In preparation for the London Summit, the British Treasury published a detailed agenda leaflet outlining the topics that should be discussed. The specific objective was “to start the process of reform so as to manage globalization as a force for good in the medium term.”

  1. Taking coordinated measures to combat decreasing demand and shaky confidence (although individual countries’ monetary policy margins of error vary)
  2. Cooperative measures to protect vulnerable emerging and developing markets and stop the spread of the crisis
  3. Collaborating to fix the financial and supervisory system weaknesses that the crisis has revealed
  4. The Financial Stability Forum (FSF) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) need to improve their coordination on a global scale in order to better protect the world’s economies.
  5. To achieve more safe and stable global commodity markets, it was agreed to increase global trade and reject protectionism.
  6. We recommit ourselves to working together to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.


Leaders of the member countries started getting ready for the London Summit months before it happened. Two official meetings were held to do this: one was for European leaders in Berlin, Germany, on February 22, 2009, and the other was for finance ministers in Horsham, Sussex, UK, on March 14, 2009.

European leaders summit

The UK, Germany, France, and Italy are all G20 member countries. On February 22, 2009, the leaders of Spain and the Netherlands, the two biggest European countries that are not members, met in Berlin to plan for the London Summit and make sure that their actions were coordinated. At the request of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the meeting was set up.

All of the leaders agreed that there should be proper oversight of markets, banks, the many financial assets they make, and hedge funds. Besides that, they wanted strong penalties against tax havens. They also agreed to punish countries that try to stop them from doing their job. Lastly, they wanted the IMF to have twice as much money as it has now.

Finance ministers summit

In Horsham on March 14, 2009, G20 finance ministers and central bankers got ready for the London Summit. To get global growth going again as soon as possible, the people who were there agreed to take coordinated and firm steps to boost demand and jobs. Also, they promised to fight all kinds of protectionism and keep trade and capital from other countries going.

Members also promised to keep the credit supply steady by giving banks more cash and reviving the financial system, and to quickly put the stimulus plans into action. The people in charge of central banks promised to keep interest rates low for as long as it took. The leaders finally agreed to help developing and emerging countries by making the IMF stronger.

The people who took part suggested that to make the financial system stronger, all major banks should be properly regulated, all hedge funds or their managers should be registered, and these groups should be forced to give correct information about the risks they take. They wanted to regulate the system to stop systemic risks and stop business cycles. One way they wanted to do this was by limiting the leverage effect, which makes cycles stronger. By making the IMF and the FSF stronger, they revealed new steps to stop and solve crises. The countries agreed to keep an eye on credit rating companies and make sure they followed the International Organization of Securities Commissions’ Code of Conduct. They also agreed to keep an eye on off-balance-sheet vehicles, the credit derivatives market, and areas that didn’t want to work together.

Gordon Brown’s pre-summit meetings

Before the London Summit, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown went to a number of countries on three continents to try to get support for the goals he wanted to advance at the summit. While on the trip, Brown had to explain his stance on fiscal stimulus again because the Governor of the Bank of England had criticized it. Although he was speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, a member of the parliament questioned his plans for spending money. He also went to Washington, D.C., Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. He strongly attacked protectionism, stating, “One of the messages that must come from next week’s summit is that we will reject protectionist countries, we will monitor those countries, and we will name and shame, if necessary, countries that are not following free trade practices” .

Since the weeks before the London Summit, people’s views on whether or not to add more economic stimulus have been changing. American and British leaders wanted more stimulus packages to try to get the world economy going again, but French and German leaders were still strongly against these kinds of actions because they would lead to more debt. On March 26, 2009, Mirek Topolanek, the prime minister of the Czech Republic, harshly criticized US President Barack Obama’s plans to enhance the economy.


Leaders of the G20 countries present at the London Summit (taken before the proceedings on 2 April 2009).
Leaders of the G20 countries present at the London Summit (taken before the proceedings on 2 April 2009).

On April 1, 2009, the G20 leaders began meeting in London. Before going to the London Summit, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that France would leave the meeting if a real deal wasn’t reached. This was similar to what Charles de Gaulle did in 1965 with his “empty chair” gesture. Obama and Brown told the press at a joint event in London that rumors of a split were not true. Sarkozy and Merkel both spoke at separate press conferences where they called for the meeting to agree on stricter rules for the financial markets and made it clear that they were strongly against any more financial stimulus packages.

The leaders went to a party at Buckingham Palace on the evening of April 1, which was held by Queen Elizabeth II. In a picture, she gently reprimanded Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister of Italy, for yelling too loudly to get the attention of Barack Obama, the president of the United States. The story got a lot of attention in the Italian media, and people who didn’t like Berlusconi used it to make fun of him. After the party at the palace, the leaders had dinner at 10 Downing Street. Jamie Oliver cooked the food.

The real summit started in the early hours of April 2 and took place at the Excel Center in Custom House, east London.

Core participants

The London summit will consist of the core members of the G20, which consists of 19 countries and the European Union, represented by the European Council and the European Commission. Additionally, other nations and regional organizations have been invited to participate.


Gordon Brown and Dmitry Medvedev at the front door of the Prime Minister' residence on Downing Street.
Gordon Brown and Dmitry Medvedev at the front door of the Prime Minister’ residence on Downing Street.


A working dinner at the summit – Left to right: Merkel, Obama, Lee, Abdullah, Lula da Silva.
A working dinner at the summit – Left to right: Merkel, Obama, Lee, Abdullah, Lula da Silva.


G20 Members

Host nation and leader are indicated in bold text.

MemberRepresented byTitle
 🇦🇷 Argentina Cristina Fernández de Kirchner President
 🇦🇺 Australia Kevin Rudd Prime Minister
 🇧🇷 Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva President
 🇨🇦 Canada Stephen Harper Prime Minister
 🇨🇳 China Hu Jintao President
 🇫🇷 France Nicolas Sarkozy President
 🇩🇪 Germany Angela Merkel Chancellor
 🇮🇳 India Manmohan Singh Prime Minister
 🇮🇩 Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono President
 🇮🇹 Italy Silvio Berlusconi Prime Minister
 🇯🇵 Japan Taro Aso Prime Minister
 🇲🇽 Mexico Felipe Calderón President
 🇷🇺 Russia Dmitry Medvedev President
 🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia Abdullah bin Abdulaziz King
 🇿🇦 South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe President
 🇰🇷 South Korea Lee Myung-bak President
 🇹🇷 Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Prime Minister
🇬🇧 United Kingdom Gordon Brown Prime Minister
🇺🇸 United States Barack Obama President
 🇪🇺 European Union (European Commission) José Manuel Barroso President
 European Union (European Council) Mirek Topolánek President
Invited States
StatesRepresented byTitle
 🇪🇹 Ethiopia Meles Zenawi Prime Minister
 🇳🇱 Netherlands Jan Peter Balkenende Prime Minister
 🇪🇸 Spain José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero Prime Minister
 🇹🇭 Thailand Abhisit Vejjajiva Prime Minister
International Organisations
OrganisationRepresented byTitle
 ASEAN Surin Pitsuwan Secretary General
 Financial Stability Forum Mario Draghi Chairman
 International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn Managing director
 New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Meles Zenawi Chairman
 🇺🇳 United Nations Ban Ki-moon Secretary General
 World Bank Group Robert Zoellick President
 World Trade Organization Pascal Lamy Director-General


Security operation

Operation Glencoe, which was led by Commander Bob Broadhurst, was supposed to cost £7.2 million. The Metropolitan Police, the City of London Police, the British Transport Police, and the Essex Police, Sussex Police, and Bedfordshire Police were some of the police forces that helped with the mission. They have also used some units from the Ministry of Defense Police. It’s the most money that Britain has ever spent on security.

GCHQ interception of foreign politicians communications

The British intelligence agency GCHQ spied on foreign politicians attending the summit in June 2013, as reported by The Guardian. This spying included the interception of phone calls, emails, and the monitoring of computers, in some cases continuing long after the summit had ended thanks to keyloggers installed by GCHQ.


Protesters outside the Bank of England on 1 April 2009
Protesters outside the Bank of England on 1 April 2009

A lot of different groups protested the summit over a wide range of long-standing and current problems. There was worry about the economy, anger at the banking system and bankers’ pay and bonuses, the ongoing war on terror, and worries about climate change. Most of the meetings and protesters were peaceful, but there were some violent incidents and criminal damage that required kettling to keep protesters in their place.

Death of Ian Tomlinson

A newsagent in the City of London named Ian Tomlinson died during the G20 Meltdown protest near the Bank of England. He was inside a police cordon. At first, the City of London cops denied that there had been any trouble with the cops. But video, photos, and statements from witnesses were made public, and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) proved that police had pushed Tomlinson back minutes before he passed out and died of a heart attack. More video evidence that Tomlinson had been hit with a stick backed up the claims that she had been hit. Later, the IPCC ordered a second autopsy and a separate criminal investigation. The second autopsy found that “there is evidence of coronary atherosclerosis,” but it was “unlikely to have contributed to the cause of death” and that “the cause of death was abdominal hemorrhage.”


After the London summit, the G20 became “the premier forum for discussing, planning, and monitoring international economic cooperation.”

Financial commitments

Leaders of the G20 countries came to an agreement that will give US$1.1 trillion to different programs that will help international trade, credit, international finance, and the general recovery and stability of the economy. There were differing opinions on the best way to proceed. Each country, including the US and UK, wanted a big boost to the economy. Although France and Germany wanted stricter rules for the banking sector, Programmes include:


  • Five hundred billion more dollars have been offered by members of the New Arrangements to Borrow, which allows the IMF to lend money to economies that are having trouble.
  • $250 billion promises to increase trade financing,
  • A $250 billion allocation of special drawing rights (SDRs), which let IMF members borrow foreign cash during a crisis,
  • Promises of $100 billion in loans to poor countries from the international development banks.

Guidelines for Regulation

As a shared way to get rid of bad assets in banks, the agreement also aims to regulate hedge funds and credit rating agencies more broadly around the world. Along with the IMF, the G20 leaders decided to create a financial stability forum to promote global cooperation and create an early warning system for future financial crises.

No green policies 

Despite Greenpeace and other groups’ calls for a “green new deal” and general political talk about environmental issues, the $1.1 trillion stimulus plan did not include any money for environmental investments, and no other agreements were made regarding the environment.

Decreased influence of the United States 

There was a sense that the US would not be as powerful as it has been in the past, and most people at the London Summit agreed that there should be more rules for businesses from the government. Director-chairman of Goldman Sachs International Robert Hormats said about the summit, “The U.S. is becoming less dominant while other nations are gaining influence.”

China’s Influence

During the G20, China’s impact was clear, and some observers said the meeting felt more like a G2 meeting.





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