G-7 Summit 2022: Expectations ahead
THE 48th summit of G-7, the most advanced countries of the world, just held and concluded on 28 June 2022 in Schloss Elmau, Germany.
The assembled nations discussed the issues of the contemporary globe along with their policy and its preferences between 26-28 June to move forward the economy and other spheres of the time in a better way.
Previously, the 15th summit of G-7 was also hosted by Germany but it was the first summit for Olaf Scholz, its Chancellor as well as Fumio, its Prime Minister.
Small but powerful inter-governmental organization, basically represented by seven countries — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, United States, and one union of states, European Union.
In addition.several developing countries like Argentina, India, Indonesia, Senegal, South Africa and Ukraine have got the invitation to attend the meet as guest/invited members.
In both cases, the country is represented by either Head of the State or Head of the Government.
As it is an organisation of global significance which largely impact worldly institutions, presence of a number of international institutions — International Labour Organisation, Energy Agency, IMF, UN, World Bank, WHO and WTO are also well represented by their nominees/representatives.
While deliberating the problems of the world on June 26 they remained focused on economic issues which include global economy, investment for the development of infrastructure as well as foreign and security policy while the next day agenda of discussion revolved around the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and as the President of Ukraine was also invited and took part in deliberations in the summit, a statement supporting Ukraine with Russia’s criticism was also issued.
The second day of the summit was dedicated to the investing in climate, energy, health, food security and issues related to gender equality following the issue of a joint statement at the end of the summit on 28th June 2022.
Preparation and expansion: Recently, since the outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine as a result of the Kremlin’s attack on the country, the group G-7 became active to help Ukraine and teach a historic lesson to Russia and on its part, imposed several sanctions with a view to weaken Kremlin’s economy and stop the war.
In the background of the ongoing war, still continuing, the group convened its first meeting to discuss the issue on 19 February 2022 where the Foreign Ministers of G-7 countries held fruitful deliberations and issued a statement on Russia and Ukraine, but as the war appeared lingering the Foreign Ministers of G-7 second time met on 22 March 2022 under the leadership of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at Brussels, Belgium, and warned Russia not to use chemical as well as nuclear weapons failing which the Group will be forced to work in favour of Ukraine.
Before the major summit which was convened in June 2022, it also held two meetings in April and May respectively keeping in view the ongoing war between the two.
On 7 and 19 April 2022, the member countries of G-7 came in contact with each other through meeting and videoconference where they declared Russia responsible for the outbreak and continuation of war and decided to impose and implement strict economic sanctions with coordinated efforts to force Russia to stop its attack on Ukraine.
Likewise, on 8 May 2022 they again met and issued joint statement after meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and also decided to phase out dependency on Russian energy and further damage Russia economically.
Thus, the background prepared between February and May led to the summit of members, guest members along with international agencies’ representatives.
Foundational basics: The G-7 is an inter-governmental political forum having no treaty and any permanent secretariat or office whose presidency rotates annually among the member countries and the presiding country set its agenda and priorities, but despite weak structure and organizational mechanism it has taken several initiatives and efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS and other pandemics including the Covid-19 and played an important role in climate change and development of developing countries by extending financial help to needy countries.
Although its original membership was limited to four — the US, UK, Germany and France and with the inclusion of Japan in mid-1973, it became a Group of Five while on the eve of the first summit in 1975 on the initiative of French President his German counterpart invited Italy and as a result the membership rose to six.
As the economy of Canada was next to the G-6, the very next year in 1976 at Dorado summit Canada became the member of the group raising it to the G-7.
The first summit of its member countries was held on 15-17 November 1975, hosted by France, the then chairman, and focused on several major economic issues and announced Group’s commitment to promoting free trade, multilateralism, cooperation with the developing world and rapprochement with the Eastern Bloc.
However, the current summit was held in a very different situation and global context owing to pandemic Covid-19 and the People’s Republic of China posing a serious challenge to the powers of the world particularly the United States.
In the context, America wanted a clear anti-China signal on behalf of the G-7 to denounce Beijing’s hegemonic attitude towards the democratic values including the human rights and a collective/joint scheme to counter Chinese Belt and Road Initiatives (BRI), a global plan of infrastructural development adopted by Beijing in 2015 as a tool of its foreign policy, although keeping in view the deep and extensive economic relations with China most of the G-7 members were not willing to take any harsh step against Chinese scheme of BRI.
— The writer is Professor and Head, Department of Political Science, B N Mandal University, Madhepura, Bihar, India.