Gathered in Cornwall, England, G-7 leaders sought not only to serve as symbolism and pleasing rhetoric, but also to come up with concrete actions to tackle global issues and end the pandemic.
(CN) – In a show of unity, US President Joe Biden and his G-7 allies met at a Cornish seaside resort on Friday to lay out a shared vision – and concrete steps – to address the crises that beset a world torn apart by a pandemic, warming air temperatures, sweeping technological changes and the rise of undemocratic governments.
Leaders of the wealthiest liberal democracies, gathered at a Group of Seven summit in Cornwall in southwest England, took inspiration from Biden, with the new occupier looking out of the White House aiming to restore US world leadership after the confusion “America’s First Foreign Policy Approach from Former President Donald Trump.”
The G-7 is made up of the world’s leading liberal democratic economies: the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Canada and Italy. The European Union is also sending representatives. Together, they represent around 45% of the world’s gross domestic product.
But two decades ago, those seven nations accounted for around 65% of global GDP. Today, the size of the economies of France, UK, Italy and Canada is eclipsed by the wealth of China, India, Russia, Indonesia and Brazil. China’s economy is expected to become the largest in the world when it is expected to overtake that of the United States by 2028.
Yet the G-7 can move the levers of global politics and its leaders tried to do just that on Friday by coming up with big plans to end the pandemic, help struggling poorest countries, move away from burning fossil fuels, ending corporate tax evasion and countering anti-democratic advances by China and Russia.
The most tangible move by the G-7 was the long-awaited pledge to purchase and donate 1 billion doses of vaccine to the World Health Organization‘s global immunization campaign in a bid to end the pandemic of here next year.
On Thursday, Biden announced that the United States would provide half a billion doses of Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine.
âAmerican workers will now produce vaccines to save lives in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean,â Biden said.
“It is a monumental commitment of the American people,” he added. âAs I said, we are a nation full of people who come together in times of need to help our fellow human beings, both at home and abroad. We are not perfect, but we are moving forward.
This promise to deliver vaccines can be seen as motivated not only by humanitarian concerns, but also by geopolitical calculations.
Biden’s push to act globally and rally allies is part of a larger strategy to counter the rise of China, whose growing wealth, influence and military strength are seen as the main threat to American power and help China to spread its authoritarian undemocratic. politics around the world.
China is amassing goodwill around the world through vaccine shipments, cheap development loans, investments in infrastructure, and a dizzying array of affordable consumer goods and basic commodities. Biden hopes to offer a US-led alternative to global development.
During this week-long trip to Europe, his first overseas trip as president, Biden hopes to rally allies and find strategies to strengthen liberal values ââaround the world. He is meeting with NATO and EU leaders next week before sitting down with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a much-anticipated and risky summit in Geneva on Wednesday.
In addition to the vaccine promise, G-7 leaders agreed at a global minimum tax rate of at least 15% for multinational companies, a move they hope will close tax havens and end corporate tax evasion.
The White House has said that making multinational corporations “pay their fair share” will help countries use the new tax revenues to invest in infrastructure, child care, affordable housing and education. .
âA global minimum corporate tax is a key part of our efforts to implement a foreign policy for the middle class and will help support working families everywhere,â the White House said in a statement.
G-7 leaders have also offered to support an International Monetary Fund plan to inject $ 650 billion in cash into the global economy to help poorer countries recover from the coronavirus pandemic without contracting new ones. debts.
Climate change was also a priority item on the G-7 agenda. Unlike Trump, Biden has made tackling climate change a top priority, bringing immense relief to European leaders who have made reducing their dependence on fossil fuels a guiding principle. The EU is putting in place a comprehensive and legally binding framework to force its economies and societies to cut carbon emissions in a bid to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement. G-7 leaders were to make new commitments to make their economies greener.
On Thursday, a day before the summit, Biden and First Lady Jill Biden met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his new wife, Carrie Johnson, in Cornwall.
In a symbolic gesture to confirm the special friendship between the United States and the United Kingdom, the two leaders signed a Updated Atlantic Charter. This new charter comes 80 years after Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt published the original Atlantic Charter at the height of World War II and defined their vision of a democratic and free trade world at the end of the war. .
The new charter reads like a manual of survival to the perils and problems that besiege the world at 21st century.
“We must ensure that democracies – starting with our own – can solve the critical challenges of our time,” it read. âWe will defend transparency, defend the rule of law and support civil society and independent media. “
The document pledges to fight injustice, inequalities, human rights violations, dangers of emerging technologies, disinformation, malicious influences on elections, public debt, restrictions on navigation and overflight, the need to develop democratic standards for digital technologies, cyber threats and terrorists. , the proliferation of weapons, corruption, health crises such as the pandemic and weak labor and environmental regulations.
The new Atlantic Charter is also intended to be a practical manual for survival on a warming planet.
“We are committed to continuing to build an inclusive, just, climate-friendly, sustainable and rules-based global economy for the 21st century, âhe explains. âThe world has reached a critical point where it must act urgently and ambitiously to fight the climate crisis, protect biodiversity and preserve nature. Our countries will prioritize these issues in all of our international action. “
The G-7 meeting will be followed later this year by a G-20 summit in October in Rome. The G-20 is made up of several countries, including China, Brazil, Russia and Saudi Arabia, and its support or rejection of the ideas proposed by the G-7 will be crucial.
Courthouse News reporter Cain Burdeau is based in the European Union.