Despite disagreements in key areas, Olaf Scholz (SPD) considered the G-7 summit at Schloss Elmau a success. The results demonstrated “the great power of democratic alliances,” said the Chancellor at the final press conference. The summit sends out a signal of “clarity and strength”. Scholz said on the WELT television channel: “Everyone linked arms – and in that respect it’s a good success for everyone, but of course also for the presidency.”
It was also important that the leading democratic economic powers did not keep to themselves, but that countries such as India, Indonesia, Argentina, Senegal and South Africa were guests. “New consensus” was formulated together – “at eye level, because that is very, very important,” said Scholz.
The dominant topic at the meeting was the question of how the economically strong democracies of the West intend to react to the consequences of the war in Ukraine. In addition to military support for Ukraine and the continuation of sanctions against Russia, the aim was to cushion the negative repercussions on energy supply and the global food situation.
The G 7 stand “closely and steadfastly on the side of Ukraine,” emphasized Scholz. “We support the country in its defense and offer it prospects for the future.” Among other things, Scholz wants to prepare a conference together with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen by the end of the year to develop a “Marshall Plan” for Ukraine .
The meeting showed unity and determination to counter Russian aggression, said the Chancellor. Russia has now been at war with Ukraine for 125 days. The G 7 condemned the “merciless war” and agreed: Putin “must not win this war”. We are determined to support Ukraine for as long as it takes and to keep pushing up the price on Russia.
In the fight against an impending hunger crisis, the G-7 countries have committed to providing 4.5 billion US dollars for global food security. They call on Russia to end the blockade of Ukrainian ports. Wheat silos and other agricultural infrastructure should no longer be bombed.
The fight against hunger has “become an even greater challenge due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” said the Chancellor. “We currently have 345 million people who we know do not have enough to eat.” Four times as many as lived in Germany. The World Food Program estimates that at least $28 billion will be needed to combat the current supply crisis.
Scholz reiterated the goal of reducing dependency on oil and gas from Russia and promoting renewable energies and climate protection. He was pleased with the encouragement of his idea for a “climate club” in which climate-politically ambitious countries should come together: “We agree: we need more ambition, more ambition, to achieve our climate goals.”
However, the unity sworn by Scholz is not quite as unequivocal as the images from the Bavarian mountain idyll, which emphasize harmony, are supposed to lead one to believe. The announcement by US President Joe Biden on the first day of the summit that the G7 would adopt sanctions on the import of Russian gold proved to be premature.
Although Great Britain supported the proposal, Germany and France referred to the competence of the EU. Whether the idea will find a unanimous majority there is uncertain. No agreement has yet been reached on the US proposal to introduce a price cap for commodities such as gas and oil. French President Emmanuel Macron met with little enthusiasm from the Americans with his idea of then applying the price cap globally – i.e. also to oil from American production.
There is a disagreement between Germany and the USA about how to deal with China, which is only insufficiently concealed by the partly cloudy language of the final communiqué. While the USA sees China as the major strategic enemy of the future, Germany simply describes its most important trading partner as a “competitor” and, like Chancellor Scholz, speaks of an “ambivalent relationship”.
The hurry with which the phase-out of the promotion of fossil fuels is to be completed is also different. While the Americans are stepping up the pace, Germany, which is now extremely gas-strapped due to its dependence on Russia, managed to negotiate a passage in the final declaration that allows investments in liquid gas, for example, at least temporarily. However, the climate goals of the Paris Agreement should not be lost sight of.
In the end, the Chancellor thanked the residents of the Garmisch-Partenkirchen region, who had tolerated three days of closures, the careful siege by 18,000 police officers and considerable helicopter traffic. The meeting is said to have cost 180 million euros, but Scholz considers it to be a good investment: “I believe that these summits are still of the greatest, greatest importance.” Threads of conversation that you have tied can be picked up again a day later. This succeeded in Elmau.
“In this respect, it really paid off that we talked to each other here. A great deal of trust has developed between us and it will help us a lot in the near future.” With Macron, Biden, Boris Johnson, Mario Draghi and Justin Trudeau, he can now deepen trust at the NATO summit in Madrid.
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