Sunday 15 September 2019

G7 leaders won't make statement together (for first time ever) as cracks show

French President Emmanuel Macron (Michel Spingler/AP)
French President Emmanuel Macron (Michel Spingler/AP)

Roland Oliphant

This weekend's G7 summit will produce no joint communiqué amid deepening divisions between the world's seven richest nations over everything from Brexit to trade, climate change, and how to deal with China, Iran, and Russia.

It will be the first time the forum has failed to produce a statement of common intention and agreement since it began as the Group of Five in 1975, in the latest blow to the post-Cold War consensus of free trade, democracy, and globalisation it once represented.

French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting Britain's Boris Johnson, America's Donald Trump, Germany's Angela Merkel, Japan's Shinzo Abe, Canada's Justin Trudeau and Giuseppe Conte of Italy, for the 45th summit of the world's leading industrialised nations in Biarritz this weekend.

An early sign of trouble came last week, when Mr Trump repeated his call for Russia to be readmitted to the group. Vladimir Putin, its president, has been persona non grata at G7 meetings since he annexed Crimea and sent troops to support a Ukraine separatist uprising in 2014.

Mr Macron shot that down, warning it would be a "strategic error" to let Russia back into the club while it continued to fuel the war in eastern Ukraine.

But differences over how to handle Mr Putin are only the tip of the iceberg.

Mr Macron has made Brazilian forest fires the top priority for the summit, and wants to push to overhaul a "crazy" global tax system that sees tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Facebook get away with paying minimal taxes no matter where they operate.

The seven are also divided over rising strategic challenges.

(© Daily Telegraph London)

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