For Angela Merkel it is a first for the 15th anniversary of her chancellorship. It is the first virtual G-20 summit, with her economic advisor Lars-Hendrik Röller, who is working on the communiqués, and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) she is sitting in front of several screens in the Chancellery.
Without personal encounters and because US President Donald Trump was not there for long, it was clear that it would be difficult. But at least there is broad agreement to distribute the soon available corona vaccines fairly.
Trump made it clear that, from his point of view, all Americans should be vaccinated first. America first. Accordingly, the USA is also refusing the international Covax initiative (Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access) for the development and fair distribution of corona vaccines – the US government justifies this with the leading role of the World Health Organization, in which China has too strong an influence criticize.
The aim is to raise over ten billion dollars, but around six billion dollars are still missing by the end of 2021. Germany is contributing more than half a billion euros, said Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel was ready to do even more, but also made other countries responsible: “Germany rarely did nothing. But Germany cannot maintain the international alliance on its own either. “
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The group of large industrialized nations wants, as the G 20 emphasizes, “spare no effort” to ensure fair and affordable access to corona vaccines in the world. Also, under the presidency of Saudi Arabia, they assure themselves that they want to get the world economy going together.
In the final declaration, poor countries are given the prospect of further debt relief. Next year it will be checked whether the economic and financial situation requires an extension of the repayment deferral that has been agreed until June 2021 by six months. “The declaration breathes the spirit of multilateral cooperation,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel after the summit.
For the third year in a row, there has been no commitment against “protectionism”, as was the case in Hamburg in 2017 under the German presidency.
Trump once again praises his reign – and then goes to golf
Ultimately, not only Merkel is betting on the new era with Trump’s successor Joe Biden. Next year Italy will take over the leadership of the G 20. Great Britain will inherit the G-7 presidency from the US, which has done little.
Trump didn’t want a virtual summit either. He managed to get more talked about him than about the conversations. At first, the US President sat listlessly in front of the screen in the White House and preferred to tweet about what he saw as the formidable electoral fraud in the USA, then after a brief intervention in which he once again praised his term in office, he said goodbye to golf.
He’s been doing this every weekend since election day. Trump Golf Club in Sterling is about 45 kilometers from the White House.
There was also talk of a memorable appearance and departure in German government circles, of all times when Corona was the topic. He was represented by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, among others. The “Boston Globe” noted at the weekend that Trump had spoken about the pandemic four times since election day, while 18,927 more Americans died from or with Covid-19 disease during the period, the number of deaths rose to over 255,000.
Another message came from the USA on Sunday. The authorities expect the first vaccinations as early as mid-December. “Our plan is to be able to deliver the vaccines to the vaccination centers within 24 hours of approval,” said the head of the US government’s vaccine working group, Moncef Slaoui, on CNN. He left it open whether and how it would be shared with other countries.
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In the federal government there is hope that with Biden the multilateral approach will be strengthened again – and one can get away from 19: 1 decisions through US blockades. Because the other big issue remains climate change. Joe Biden wants back to the Paris climate agreement and has brought in a $ 20 billion fund to stop deforestation of the rainforest. But Brazil’s right-wing president has not even congratulated him on winning the election.