Once the family photo of the G-7 leaders was taken on the beach at Carbis Bay, Boris Johnson began to walk down the wooden walkway with the impetus of the host that his guests follow without question. Looking back, he was disconcerted to see that the rest were a few meters behind, and French President Emmanuel Macron chatted amiably with his American counterpart, Joe Biden, and put his arm around his shoulder. On a political and personal level, that could be the summary of the Cornwall summit. The hospitality displayed is appreciated, while reminding the British Prime Minister that the occasion transcends him and does not revolve exclusively around him. The US president has taken the first step of his visit to Europe in the United Kingdom, but he is more interested in repairing the bridges with his traditional allies, which Donald Trump dynamited, than in reinforcing the “special relationship” between the United States and the United Kingdom. United.
Everyone enjoys Johnson’s sympathy, but no one lets their guard down. Biden has wanted to show his friendlier side on British soil, but before he has given Downing Street a slap on the wrist for “inflaming the tension” in Northern Ireland. Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, were photographed together on Friday, at a table by the sea, as the guests of a wedding to which they have come reluctantly and in which time does not accompany. Before going to the barbecue on the beach that the organizers have prepared for the last minute of this Saturday, all of them will have had bilateral meetings with the prime minister. And they will have warned you that the EU is ready to open a trade war with London if it persists in unilaterally evading customs controls between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, thus skipping the obligations it assumed in an international treaty that took years to build. Macron, according to French media, has indicated to Johnson that relations between his two countries can only be “reset” if the British prime minister agrees to fulfill his part of the Brexit agreement, according to several French media.
The G-7 celebrates its main working days this Saturday. The first one, focused on economic recovery and the search for a renewal of “global systems that responds to the needs of citizens and supports our values and principles. [de las democracias liberales]”, As set out in the preparatory documents for the meeting. Biden started from his partners, during the dinner on Friday, the commitment to continue maintaining the economic stimuli necessary to guarantee the exit from the current crisis. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi supported the US president’s approach, but urged everyone to think about a medium and long-term strategy that would ensure fiscal prudence in the future, reassure the markets and not put the economy at risk. necessary fiscal expansion, according to the Bloomberg agency. The former president of the European Central Bank, with a reputation consolidated by his performance in the last financial and monetary crisis, was a central actor during the first working session of the leaders of the seven richest nations. Italy also holds the rotating presidency of the G-20 this year. “Mario, I still remember a seminar I attended where you saved the euro from a crisis with a simple sentence,” Johnson introduced to his guest. “Explain your perspective to all of us.”
The two areas that the G-7 will cover for the rest of the day will be foreign policy and the health response to the pandemic. The vast majority of announcements and decisions from this summit have been anticipated in recent days. It will not be a meeting of negotiations at dawn or of big surprises. Its importance resides, above all, in the message that you want to convey. The West is back, and it has risen from a devastating health crisis with the intention of offering an alternative – more social democratic than liberal – to the authoritarianism of giants like China or Russia. “We are going to rebuild together in a better, greener, fairer, more egalitarian way … Perhaps in a more neutral gender mode, or more feminine,” Johnson summed up on Friday with those improvisations that he boasts, that the same They are both embarrassing and intuitive.
The US Administration has started from the summit the commitment, which will be formally announced in the final communiqué, to launch a multibillion-dollar international infrastructure project to address the new Silk Road deployed in recent years by China, by Asia and Europe. Biden also wants to extract from his partners a condemnation of the practices of “labor slavery” that the Asian giant tolerates.
The G-7 wants to make its mark with two draft decisions. The imposition of greater fiscal harmony, with a minimum corporate tax of “at least 15%”. And the commitment to distribute one billion vaccines against covid-19 among the poorest nations. Both will leave fringes loose and will arouse misgivings. It remains to be determined which companies will be the target of the new tax strategy. The United States has been the promoter of the initiative, but does not want to hurt its tech giants too much. The UK wants to exclude its large banks from the measure. city from London, but not convinces its partners that there is a legal or economic basis to defend this exceptionality. And there are many humanitarian organizations that have warned that the doses committed to immunize the world are few and will arrive late. The World Health Organization estimates that 11 billion doses are necessary to protect 70% of the planet’s population. And they are needed now, not at the end of 2022, as Washington or London, among others, have promised.
Several hundred protesters, from organizations like Extinction Rebelion – which demands more urgency in the response against climate change – or Oxfam – which is already demanding more vaccines for the world – have gathered on the beaches near Carbis Bay. They are more of a local attraction than a nuisance to the G-7 leaders, entrenched in a security perimeter that numbers thousands of police and soldiers. The seven richest nations in the world want to send from Cornwall a signal of solidarity and justice to the world, but without wanting to do without the necessary distance.