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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues,
It is a pleasure to have this chance to meet with you here at the G20 Summit in Cannes, all the more so at this time of considerable economic difficulty when rising unemployment has put job creation and social protection at the top of the summit’s agenda. Indeed, these were precisely among the issues we just spent the last hour-and-a-half discussing.
I spoke with business community members this morning and heard their views and proposals on several issues, including social stability and the partnership between business and state. I would like now to hear your views and proposals on these matters.
We all see of course that the labour market’s recovery is lagging behind the recovery in overall economic growth, which is also proceeding at rather a slow pace, unfortunately. Unemployment hits the most vulnerable groups in society hardest: young people, economic migrants, and also older people and retirees.
There are problems with dwindling money transfers from economic migrants and the return home of migrants who have lost their jobs in more developed countries. This contributes to rising poverty and unemployment in the poorest countries. Sadly, all of this is making it harder for us to reach the millennium development goals.
Russia supports the recommendations made at the meeting of G20 employment ministers in Paris on September 26–27. I hope that the working group the G20 organised to address this issue will set a more socially-focused agenda for the Mexican chairmanship. If we can get work on this issue underway in Mexico, we will be able to continue it at the future G20 summits. I think this fits in fully with these summits’ purpose.
If Russia hosts the G20 summit in 2013, which we would like to do, I am sure we would be able to tackle all these issues from yet further angles – two years would give us plenty of time to prepare after all – and will be able to continue our work and discussions in the Russian Federation.
Another point I would like to make is that building up the level of social protection is not an easy task, especially when facing economic difficulties, but the G20’s efforts should focus on three main objectives, which I want to name before giving you the floor.
First, we should create more jobs for young people and vulnerable groups in society. Second, we are to bolster social protection in general, including access to social services such as education, healthcare and others. Finally, something obvious but nonetheless important, we have to ensure compliance with social and labour laws, both domestic legislation and international labour conventions.
I won’t hide that we spent most of the day discussing the Eurozone situation and support plans in light of the Eurozone’s current difficulties. I am sure that we will reach an overall agreement, though not without problems. That was the agenda at the meeting today. I would like to hear from you about your discussions and listen to your proposals.