From vaccines to climate, G7 hopes to show the West is not over yet
At a summit this week, the Group of Seven rich democracies will attempt to demonstrate to the world that the West can still act in concert to address major crises by donating hundreds of millions of COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries and pledging to slow climate change.
The United States President Joe Biden, on his first foreign trip since taking office, will try to use the summit in the English seaside village of Carbis Bay to reestablish his multilateral credentials following the tumultuous presidency of Donald Trump.
Whether on COVID-19 or climate change, the leaders of the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States want to demonstrate that the West can compete with China’s power and Russia’s assertiveness.
“This is a defining question of our time: Can democracies come together to deliver real results for our people in a rapidly changing world?” Biden, 78, wrote in The Washington Post on June 5.
“Will the democratic alliances and institutions that shaped so much of the last century demonstrate their capacity against modern-day threats and adversaries?”
The G7 finance ministers agreed on a minimum corporate tax rate over the weekend, which the U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated that it reflected a desire to collaborate.
“It demonstrates the viability of multilateral collaboration,” she said.
On Thursday, the day before the summit’s start, Biden meets with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the summit’s chair. On Sunday, Biden will become the 13th President of the United States. The President will meet Queen Elizabeth II, 95, at Windsor Castle.
He will then travel to Brussels for NATO and European Union summits before meeting Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin in Geneva on June 16.
The G7 was established in 1975 as a forum for the world’s wealthiest countries to discuss crises such as the OPEC oil embargo. Its countries have a combined annual GDP of $40 trillion, which is slightly less than half of the global economy.
The West, on the other hand, is uneasy. The coronavirus devastated the United States and Europe, and climate change has called into question many of the country’s economic models. It faces a hostile Kremlin in Moscow, as well as China’s spectacular re-emergence as a great power.
The G7 meeting in Carbis Bay, 300 miles west of London, will be the first for Biden, Italy’s Mario Draghi, and Japan’s Yoshihide Suga, as well as Johnson’s first post-Brexit G7.
It will be Angela Merkel’s final G7 meeting before she steps down as German Chancellor following an election in September, and Emmanuel Macron’s final meeting before a French election in 2022. The leaders of Australia, India, South Korea, and South Africa have been invited, but Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be unable to attend due to the COVID-19 situation at home.
According to diplomats, behind the public pronouncements, G7 leaders will discuss how to deal with China and Russia, how to reclaim the trillions of dollars in wealth lost as a result of COVID-19, and how to ensure free trade in a world tilted toward China.
China, the world’s second most populous country, has never been a member of the G7. Russia was admitted to the G8 six years after the fall of the Soviet Union, but its membership was suspended in 2014 after it annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.
Both Moscow and Beijing have told the G7 to stop interfering in their domestic affairs.
Following the hoarding of COVID-19 vaccines by many wealthy countries, Johnson wants the G7 to donate hundreds of millions of doses to poorer countries, many of which lag far behind the West in vaccinating their populations.
“Vaccinating the entire world by the end of next year would be the single greatest medical achievement in history,” Johnson said.
Aside from the security that will surround world leaders, thousands of protesters will attempt to disrupt the summit over issues ranging from climate change to a draught bill that would give British police more powers to suppress protests.
“Our rights were not won through polite, quiet protest. “Our rights were won by being loud, disruptive, and annoying,” said the Kill The Bill group, one of about 20 activist groups that have joined a ‘Resist G7 Coalition.’
From vaccines to climate, G7 hopes to show the West is not over yet, From vaccines to climate, G7 hopes to show the West is not over yet, From vaccines to climate, G7 hopes to show the West is not over yet, From vaccines to climate, G7 hopes to show the West is not over yet, From vaccines to climate, G7 hopes to show the West is not over yet