G7 summit: climate and Covid recovery top leaders' list of demands

Leaders expected to support donation of one billion Covid-19 vaccines to poorer countries

G7 leaders are expected to agree to collectively donate one billion Covid-19 vaccines to poorer countries when they meet on Friday.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain would give at least 100 million shots, hours after US President Joe Biden said his country would donate 500 million vaccines.

But each leader of the Group of Seven wealthy countries arrives in Cornwall, England with their own priorities and objectives for the summit.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

As host of the G7 and the UN’s Cop26 climate conference, Mr Johnson is likely to put global warming high on the agenda – even as he was criticised for making the 400-kilometre journey from London to Cornwall by plane, rather than train.

In his pre-summit discussions with Mr Biden, the UK premier said he hoped the US president would attend Cop26 in Glasgow later this year in person.

“The leaders agreed to not only work to reach net zero in their own countries, but also to make sure that developing world economies had access to green technology,” a Downing Street statement said.

The future of post-Brexit Northern Ireland is also expected to be raised.

US President Joe Biden, left, poses for a photo with Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, during their meeting ahead of the G7 summit in Cornwall, Britain, Thursday June 10, 2021. AP
US President Joe Biden, left, poses for a photo with Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, during their meeting ahead of the G7 summit in Cornwall, Britain, Thursday June 10, 2021. AP

US President Joe Biden

Aside from vaccine efforts, Mr Biden wants agreements that will support the post-Covid 19 global economy and help to tackle global warming.

He wants to discuss “ways to forge a more fair, sustainable, and inclusive global economy that meets the unique challenges of our time”, the White House said.

Mr Biden also expects G7 leaders to back his push for a global minimum corporation tax of at least 15 per cent.

He previously expressed concerns about increasing tensions in Northern Ireland after Brexit.

French President Emmanuel Macron

Mr Macron is prepared to act tough with Mr Johnson after Brexit, as a row over the UK’s post-EU trade relations with the bloc threatens to overshadow the G7 summit.

An impasse between the UK and EU over border checks in Northern Ireland has already led to US diplomats warning of increased tensions.

Mr Macron said no aspect of the protocol governing Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit border terms with Ireland is up for negotiation.

He could also clash with the UK and Germany over intellectual property rights for vaccines. The two countries are at odds with Mr Macron, who wants vaccine patents waived to help end the pandemic.

“Dose sharing, opening up of intellectual property, financing of health systems. It's up to the G7 to get involved,” he said.

French President Emmanuel Macron. Reuters
French President Emmanuel Macron. Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Ms Merkel, attending her 15th and last G7 summit, said she wants further discussions with the US on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.

The US is against the nearly completed, Russian-backed pipeline – in opposition to Germany.

Ms Merkel is also expected to raise actions by Belarus that have caused alarm and is likely to want to talk about relations with China and Russia.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga

Speaking before his first G7 summit, Mr Suga said he hoped to discuss the pandemic, climate and other key issues.

“At this G7 summit, I hope to have a frank discussion with other G7 leaders who share universal values ​​on important issues such as coronavirus measures, climate change, economy and regional affairs. I plan to explain Japan’s position on those issues and contribute to the summit talks,” Mr Suga said.

He also said he plans to gain support for his determination to host the Summer Olympics, starting on July 23, despite the pandemic.

“I would like to explain our determination to thoroughly implement the anti-infection measures to achieve a safe and secure Games and gain understanding from the leaders,” Mr Suga said.

Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his wife Mariko Suga arrive ahead of the G7 meeting, at Cornwall airport in Newquay, Britain. Reuters
Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his wife Mariko Suga arrive ahead of the G7 meeting, at Cornwall airport in Newquay, Britain. Reuters

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Mr Trudeau is expected to announce an increase in climate finance and will also discuss Covid-19 vaccines and recovery efforts.

“Only by working together can we beat this pandemic, create good jobs, fight climate change, and build a better future for everyone,” he said on departing for the G7.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves as he arrives ahead of the G7 meeting at Cornwall airport in Newquay, Cornwall. Reuters
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves as he arrives ahead of the G7 meeting at Cornwall airport in Newquay, Cornwall. Reuters

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi

Mr Draghi, an economist widely credited with saving the euro during his presidency of the European Central Bank for much of the 2010s, became prime minister only in February.

As host of the larger group of G20 countries, pandemic recovery is high on his agenda.

He is seen as more ambivalent on green issues than some of the other leaders.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. EPA
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. EPA

Updated: June 11, 2021 04:42 PM

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