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CARBIS BAY, England – The G7 still got the juice.
Or at least the message leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies tried to send on Sunday by donating a billion vaccine doses and vowing to end the coronavirus pandemic, sending China a message about human rights abuses and hostile military maneuvers . , and by standing together on a wide range of other major global challenges, primarily including climate change, free trade and gender equality.
But while the leaders celebrated their renewed cooperation, thanks largely to the arrival of US President Joe Biden, their three-day meetings on the English beach exposed the growing limits of the elite geopolitical club – and the vulnerability of its members to interference by domestic politics.
The summit’s host, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, spent considerable time and energy in bilateral meetings that failed to address aspects of Brexit, his country’s divisive and disturbing departure from the European Union.
Leaders have failed to agree on setting a goal to phase out coal use in their own countries – a catastrophic stumbling block because they need to set an example for the rest of the world on fighting climate change. is. It was not lost on anyone that Joe Manchin, the Democratic senator from the heavily coal-reliant state of West Virginia, is key to Biden’s entire legislative agenda.
Multilateralism is back after another summit by the sea, but even with good intentions, that doesn’t mean big deals on big issues are easy.
Here are five takeaways from the summit:
1. No Coal Target
Soon after the G7 summit ended, activists of the group Extinction Rebellion (XR) parked in van Across a street near the venue. This did not affect the leaders; Biden had already left by helicopter.
But the protests served to highlight the size of the gap between the climate reality and the G7 political reality.
G7s Failure Setting an end date on coal was the most wonderful opportunity for leaders to set a new global benchmark on climate change. He rejected a proposal to halt production of diesel and petrol cars and barely touched on the multi-billion dollar bill the developing world says must be paid to bring its own emissions to heel.
and also slippery language On vaccines – was it 1 billion or 840 million? – will feed the distrust with which poor countries view the climate demands that rich governments place on the rest of the world.
the European Union was Push For the G7 to address the risk of carbon leakage – where dirty industries move to other countries to avoid high emissions standards. In the end, Brussels, Berlin and Paris managed to get an acknowledgment from the other leaders. But the EU is going ahead alone with a plan to impose high-emissions imports.
Much of it goes into the hands of China ahead of the big COP26 climate conference. The world’s largest emitter benefits when it can lean among its developing country allies. A genuine proposal on finances and vaccines could split the group when negotiations are tough.
It is now up to Italy, which hosts the G20 in October, to try and save a coherent message before sending the baton back to the UK and COP26 in Glasgow in November.
— Carl Mathiesen
2. China betrayed
China emerged as one of the main topics for the G7 leaders. Two years after their last physical meeting, President Xi Jinping has tightened his grip on Hong Kong and increased China’s military presence around Taiwan, while international attention to the plight of Muslims in Xinjiang has increased dramatically.
In clear language, the G7 leaders have directly referred to a number of controversial issues that will rock Beijing, including another investigation into the origins of the coronavirus in China, as well as a $100 billion bid to compete with Beijing’s belt. Including supporting the “ambition”. Road Initiative which has created massive infrastructure in developing countries.
While Europe has sometimes taken a tough stance on China, the G7 statement will be seen as a result of Beijing’s efforts to build an alliance with the EU and the UK against it.
Forced labor is an example of hardening of behavior. While the G7 leaders did not call China by name, the language is clear about which country it is referring to – and the call to action is louder than ever.
“We are concerned by the use of all forms of forced labor in global supply chains, including state-sponsored forced labor from vulnerable groups and minorities, including in the agricultural, solar and apparel sectors,” the leaders said in their final statement. He said his trade minister would come out with a detailed plan within the next four months.
All this just as the Communist Party of China is planning to celebrate its centenary in just two weeks.
— Stuart Lau
3. Shot: Vaccine Pledge Under Fire
It took some constructive accounting – including choosing a pre-peak start date for the calculations – but G7 leaders are celebrating the symbolically important goal promise 1 billion coronavirus vaccine donation to the developing world.
Activists and politicians are less affected. His decision? Not enough vaccines and not enough urgency.
The One Campaign, co-founded by musician Bono, said that although Summit “had high potential,” it “did not deliver”—putting the world at risk.
The leaders of the wealthy G7 countries have left Cornwall for “failing to take the real action needed to end the pandemic,” said Edwin Ikhuoria, executive director for Africa at the humanitarian nonprofit.
A group of non-governmental organizations called civil society 7 expressed similar sentiments.
The group, which includes Action for Global Health and UNICEF UK among its members, has promised to vaccinate the world by the end of next year, by removing patents and investments in health care systems, without 10 billion vaccines. ”
Max Lawson, head of inequality policy at UK charity Oxfam, said That “the G7 summit will remain in disrepute.”
Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown had already done in the queue Behind critics called Target “an unforgivable moral failure”.
Actor and singer Selena Gomez also did not miss the opportunity to weigh in. “@BorisJohnson5 million doses by September, too little too late. You promised Britain would donate all its spare vaccines.” Gomez said on Twitter.
— Carlo Martuscelli
4. Brexit Dix
If the G7 was built to present Global Britain on the world stage, it missed the mark. Somehow the summit was ended by Brexit, which was always present and inevitable.
Early signs were promising, when Boris Johnson avoided a confrontation with Joe Biden over the US president’s concerns about the Northern Ireland Protocol and emerged all smiles. The gathering – organized by Britain in person with a sympathetic group of four additional guests – looked bountiful for the UK’s ambition towards a weakened coalition of democracies after leaving the EU.
Then, out of nowhere, Canada weighed in to offer its assistance in preserving the Northern Ireland peace process – followed by a full day of bilateral talks between Johnson and EU leaders in which they together conveyed that the UK should Must stick to your commitments under the return agreement.
Johnson was clearly irritated by this, stating that “some of our friends today misunderstand that the UK is one country and one territory.” It later emerged that French President Emmanuel Macron apparently suggested That Northern Ireland is not part of the UK in the same way that Toulouse is part of France, which went down a raw sausage along with the British.
In the official readout of their meetings, Johnson emphasized areas of agreement: resolutions to send vaccines around the world and tackle climate change. He denied that Brexit had ended the dominating proceedings, insisting that “the conversations we’ve had in the last three or four days are about other topics” between the leaders. With a superb degree of cohesion. “
Alas, looks like no one else has received this particular memo. It is unclear whether Johnson could have done anything to avoid the flare-up, given that EU leaders were determined to use the opportunity to make their sentiments clear.
– Esther Weber
5. Tiptoeing on Business
The pandemic has ravaged the global economy and fueled protectionism as countries race to protect themselves from the COVID-19 virus.
Still, with a new US administration and a new director general of the World Trade Organization, hopes were high for a firmer line to reform that body. After all, business leaders before the summit said the WTO was drinking “Last Chance Salon.”
But ambition was always dented by the pandemic’s immense impact on the global economy. No one came out of the feeling that the US and the EU had settled their considerable differences over how to reform the WTO’s dispute resolution arm, the appellate body, which is seen as vital to the smooth conduct of world trade.
Still, a consensus is quietly building up. It is beyond the Washington-Brussels dispute how far the powers of the appellate body should reach.
Japan, UK, Canada and its other members Ottawa Group Future reformers are slowly finding a way to expedite decisions, by allowing some reference to old cases, while driving a course that will be more palatable to Washington by avoiding too much reliance on precedent.
Bringing Washington back to the table, in a more constructive sense, is one that could balance the balance in favor of a breakthrough at the WTO Ministerial Council (MC12) in December. That is why, when it comes to saving the global trading system, this G7 has brought “significance, and a relevance and importance that is perhaps more significant than at any time in the last five or six years,” said Ralph, Canada’s High Commissioner to the UK. Goodell told Politico.
— Anna Isaacs
Jacob Hanke Vela contributed reporting.