The suggestive coasts of Cornwall, finis terrae at the southeastern tip of England, they host the first post-pandemic G7 summit, nearly two years after the one in Biarritz, France.
And it is shielded against the coronavirus and, especially, against possible protests against the leaders of the major world powers.
The 2021 meeting of the G7 heads of state and government under the British presidency opens the relaunch season a bit like last time: in a place away from large urban areas, between discreet but well visible security measures.
In addition, there will be specially equipped areas, designed to contain, sterilize and dilute any possible protest (at least in the intentions).
In other words, everything as before, if it were not that almost everything turned different in this year and a half: since the change of governments – with the multilateralist Joe Biden in place of Donald Trump in the United States, the host Boris Johnson signs in Downing Street after the momentum of Brexit, and in Italy the new president of the Council, Mario Draghi- to the general climate of a planet that bears the scars of the pandemic.
The sculpture ‘Mount Recyclemore’, with the images of the leaders of the G7, this Thursday in St. Ives, Cornwall. Photo: EFE
The organization is also inevitably confronted with precautions that persist in the face of the Covid emergency, in a country that leads the immunization campaign in Europe with 70 million doses administered, and which reduced deaths and hospitalizations to a European minimum after the lethal waves of recent months.
But at the same time, Britain faces a new threat, the contagious – though not deadly for now – Delta variant of the virus imported from India.
The sanitary controls -one a day before any transfer or access to the common areas of the summit- are obsessive for the delegations, from journalists to officials, since they trust at least in part to the good faith of each one with the issue of “lateral flow test “.
It is about the swabs that each one must be carried out, whose registration in the digital archive of the British government and the health service is efficient.
A gigantic police operation will protect the G7 summit in Great Britain. Photo: DPA
Transport is also efficient, except for the long journey from London, which can be done with direct special trains in just over four hours, and the fragmentation of a territory where it was chosen shield the rulers behind the walls of the luxurious Tregenna Castle Resort from Carbis Bay.
It is an 18th century construction with a fortified appearance, which leaves the accommodation of the other participants at a proper distance.
The main media center, meanwhile, is in Falmouth, some 60 kilometers away: on the opposite coast of the peninsula that lies between the mouth of the Channel and the Irish Sea.
Everything around the panorama of Cornwall, more gray than sunny in this first half of June, with temperatures around 20 degrees, certainly less summer than in London.
A piece of land away from the rest of the island, where even the Covid hit less harshly.
The Johnson administration wanted to give him the visibility – and the resources – of one of the great international events of the year, the first face-to-face at this level since 2019, to enhance its image as the jewel of the most advanced British “green” technology,
In addition, in a year that sees London also presiding over the UN COP 26 environmental conference, on the agenda in November in Glasgow and focused on the fight against climate change.
But in the meantime the G7 is ahead. Not without the utmost attention to public order, trusting in these hours to a deployment of 6,500 police, to the metal fence that already surrounds the entire Carbis Bay and the adjacent town of St.Ives, with the closure -from Thursday to Sunday- of local arteries such as the A3074, the limitation of rail and air traffic on arrival, until the interruption of the trekking trails.
Police officers and journalists outside the press center in Falmouth, Cornwall, Britain, one day before the start of the G7 summit. Photo: AFP
The first false alarm has already appeared in Falmouth due to a suspicious package that was revealed to be harmless, after the mobilization of the Royal Navy’s explosives experts.
As for the protesters, the Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed to have made available four exclusive zones where protests are authorized.
The least distant is in a Falmouth parking lot, seen from the press center, but certainly not seen by the rulers.
But Extinction Rebellion environmentalists, radical champions of the battle over the climate, have already made it known that they want to disobey, with a thousand activists ready to be launched in swift but visible attempts at action at the heart of the summit. If they succeed.