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Filling the Leadership Gap? The European Union, China and the G20

Joachim Schild, Jörn-Carsten Gottwald

The Group of 20 has declared itself the new 'steering committee of the global economy' during the great financial crisis which erupted in the United States in 2008. For some observers, the global financial crisis is accelerating the tectonic shift of power and influence from the trans-Atlantic to the Asia-Pacific and to China in particular. In the field of financial regulation, the Washington Consensus and the Anglo-American model of soft touch regulation have been globally discredited. Therefore, claims of a lack of leadership by the United States seem justified and raise the question of alternatives.In this paper we discuss the global efforts to address the deficits in global financial regulation laid bare through the GFC. We interpret the GFC as a critical juncture and window of opportunity in the tradition of historical institutionalism. This critical juncture offers the opportunity for new actors to become political entrepreneurs and show political leadership. The paper is focused on the agenda-setting and discussion in the G 20 on new regulatory standards for financial services, particularly banking (Basel III). Following general consensus, we analyse the role of the PRC and the EU as potential alternative sources for leadership in the G 20. The paper compares the high-flying expectations regarding new activity by the leadership of the People's Republic of China with their actions between the Washington Summit 2008 and the Los Cabos Summit in 2012 and compares the Chinese role with the role of the EU.

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