The G7 continued its summit in Cornwall, England on Saturday with discussions on economic issues and also on China policy. At the three-day meeting, the heads of state and government of seven leading western industrial nations want to vote on their course towards authoritarian great powers such as China and Russia. The USA is pressing for the toughest possible stance, especially with regard to China, while Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to avoid a course of confrontation.
The central topic in the holiday resort of Carbis Bay remains the fight against the pandemic, for which a working meeting is planned in the afternoon. The host countries Australia, India, South Korea and South Africa also take part. Latin America will be the only continent not represented – of all places, the continent that is currently suffering the most from the corona pandemic.
The G7 wants to donate a billion doses of vaccine to poorer countries to help fight the pandemic. The USA want to contribute 500 million cans, the British hosts 100 million, the German contribution was still open until Saturday.
In addition, on the second of three days at the summit, the question of whether the patent protection for vaccines should be suspended in order to promote their production in developing countries. US President Joe Biden initiated the discussion, and French President Emmanuel Macron is also in favor. Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson oppose it.
If the patents were released, other manufacturers could also produce vaccines without license fees, such as those from the German manufacturer Biontech ( BioNTech (ADRs) ) or the British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca . Merkel argues, among other things, that releasing the patents could damage the quality of the vaccines produced.
The British G7 chairmanship announced on Saturday night that the group of the major industrialized nations wanted to adopt a “Carbis Bay health declaration” at its summit. It is planned to reduce the development of vaccines, treatment methods and diagnoses for future diseases to less than 100 days.
A White House announcement said the commitment to donate a billion doses of vaccine forms the basis for a package of G7 measures to end the pandemic next year. A plan of action that will be decided at the meeting includes vaccinating the world’s most vulnerable people, providing emergency supplies and supporting global economic recovery. Measures are also included so that the international community can prepare for future pandemics and prevent, recognize and react to them.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres welcomed the G7’s initiative on vaccine donations, but urged much more effort. “A billion is very welcome. But obviously we need more than that,” he said on the sidelines of the summit. It is important to act quickly and protect as many people worldwide as possible before the virus becomes immune to vaccines, said Guterres. A global vaccination plan is needed. “We’re at war with the virus.”
Despite differences in the fight against pandemics and on other points, the USA and the other large Western democracies are basically pulling together again after a low point in the era of US President Donald Trump . The “America first” policy of the Biden predecessor had brought the G7 to the brink of split.
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The G7 summit in Cornwall is now intended to mark the return of the Western community of values as a unity in international politics. Biden should also get backing for the most important date of his week-long trip to Europe: the meeting with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in Geneva.
The G7 group includes the USA, Great Britain and Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Canada. It is not only the first G7 summit in Biden, but also the last with Merkel. The two are likely to meet on the sidelines of the summit for their first personal meeting since Biden took office. A brief meeting is expected, however. The reason: Merkel is traveling to Washington on July 15 to consult with Biden in detail. The Chancellor spoke to the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Johnson on Saturday on the sidelines of the summit.
The US also expected the G7 summit to provide an important impetus for the recovery of the global economy, which has been ravaged by the pandemic. The White House announced that Biden and the other heads of state and government agreed to politically support the global economy as long as necessary. The aim is “a strong, balanced and integrative economic recovery”. It should also be discussed how a fairer and more sustainable world economy can be created.
The White House also announced that support for the US proposal for a global minimum tax is expected at the summit. Large digital corporations such as Apple or Google ( Alphabet C (ex Google) ) should pay at least 15 percent taxes worldwide in the future. The G7 finance ministers had a breakthrough on the subject last week. In a next step, the G20 countries should
– a wider group of leaders and emerging