On Saturday, the second day of their summit in England, G7 leaders discussed major international challenges, led by preventing future pandemics, concerns about Russian influence and an infrastructure plan to rival China.
US President Joe Biden’s first international trip seeks to unite his allies in the face of the challenges posed by Beijing and Moscow and their active diplomacy, both on the economic front and on the vaccine front.
His intense European tour began with this three-day summit in Carbis Bay, the port city in southwest England that is home to the Seven Great Economies.
In the first meeting between Biden and his French counterpart, journalists asked, “Has the United States returned” to the international arena after the isolation years of Donald Trump? Emmanuel Macron replied: “Absolutely.”
Reunited on Friday after nearly two years without meeting due to the pandemic, the heads of state and government of Germany, Canada, the United States, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom are starting to work.
They were joined by their counterparts from South Korea, South Africa and Australia, where they were invited in India, whose prime minister did not attend due to the serious health situation in his country.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has started a new quarrel with Europeans over their eternal quarrel over Brexit. Threatening to suspend her application in Northern Ireland if the European Union does not show flexibility, she threw a jug of cold water at the alleged unity of the Group of Seven.
But all the leaders were on the same page on issues of international politics.
In an effort to impress their complicity, they all shared a barbecue at the local beach, with marshmallows roasted over a wood fire and a rum cocktail, among other things.
Then they planned to hear songs from traditional sailors from the Corniche region.
Confronting China and Russia
At the initiative of Biden, the Group of Seven launched a global infrastructure plan that would invest hundreds of billions of dollars in “low and middle-income countries”, seeking to counter a Chinese project called the “New Silk Roads”, which consists of huge works aimed at strengthening them. international influence.
The White House said that although “different G7 partners will have different geographic orientations, the ‘project’ will have a global reach, from Latin America and the Caribbean to Africa and the Pacific.”
Dubbed “Rebuilding the World for Better,” it should help those countries recover from the pandemic, with a focus on climate, health, digital development and fighting inequality.
However, the White House emphasized that it did not want to focus on Beijing.
“It’s not about getting countries to choose between the United States and China. It’s about proposing another vision and another approach,” said a senior US official.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the return of “solidarity” and “cooperation” within the G7.
He added in a tweet that an alliance is necessary in confronting Russia and the security challenges it poses to Europe, expressing the concern of the great powers of Belarus, where opponents of President Alexander Lukashenko are being severely repressed.
Avoid another health disaster
On the health front, after Friday’s promises to donate one billion COVID-19 vaccines to other countries, leaders searched for a way to avoid new crises.
“The world’s leading democracies will commit to preventing a global pandemic from happening again, so that the devastation caused by COVID-19 does not recur,” Johnson said in the “Carbis Bay Declaration,” calling the agreement a “historic moment.”
Among its commitments is to reduce the time needed to develop vaccines, treatments and diagnostics, with the hope that it will be ready in less than 100 days for a sudden illness.
Strengthening health surveillance and reforming the WHO to make it stronger.
But the statement does not comment on the thorny proposal to suspend vaccine patents to speed production, backed by the United States and France and rejected by Germany.
The non-governmental organization Oxfam condemned that “this announcement does not solve the basic problems that prevent vaccines from reaching the majority of people.”
Activists also made their voices heard aboard the Climate Plane, with a march organized by the Extinction Rebellion in Falmouth, a town about 40 kilometers from Carbis Bay where the summit’s press center is located.
The Group of Seven is set to formally discuss combating climate change and preserving biodiversity on Sunday, in preparation for the United Nations climate conference, COP26, to be held in November in the Scottish city of Glasgow.
Disguised as the Seven Leaders in a swimsuit, members of Oxfam lay on the beach, mocking his inaction.