G7 Summit Ends with Disputes and Challenges

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The Group of Seven (G7) Summit concluded on Saturday with member countries each having their own strategic considerations, which makes the next steps uncertain.

During the drafting process, the joint communique issued on Friday afternoon sparked intense debates and disagreements among the G7 members.

RUBBER CHEQUE

According to the communique, the group has reached a deal to use the interest of frozen Russian assets to finance around 50 billion U.S. dollars of loan for Ukraine.

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the measure as “theft” and vowed that it would not go unpunished.

Previously, the group has been long divided over how such a plan could be outlined. The details of the loan deal were still not clear, which could take months in the following negotiations.

The United States also signed a security deal with Ukraine during the summit, but analysts told Xinhua that the agreement could be undone before its terms run out. That could be key, since U.S. President Joe Biden faces a tough election battle later this year against former President Donald Trump, whose support for the Ukrainian cause is not as strong as Biden’s.

DECLINING INFLUENCE

Leaders from over 10 other countries were invited to attend the summit, including emerging economies such as India, South Africa and Brazil.

According to Alberto Bradanini, chairman of the Contemporary China Study Center in Italy, G7, especially the United States, perceives itself in decline.

“A minority of nations (G7) represents no more than 10 percent of the world population, with stagnant economies and lower growth rates than emerging countries. Their pathological claims are more evident than ever,” said Bradanini.

“Inviting only a few of the BRICS (the acronym for an emerging-market cooperative mechanism that initially includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries to the G7 summit was a big mistake,” Vito Petrocelli, the president of Italy BRICS Institute, told Xinhua in a written interview, “In this way, the West made it clear that it is interested in souring relations between BRICS rather than in real collaboration with them.”

The agenda of the G7 is a succession of impromptu measures, said Petrocelli, adding that every time their actions harm the rules such as free markets they promote.

DIVIDED ALLIANCE

Days ago was the 2024 European Parliament Election, during which German and French governing parties suffered a heavy setback: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party saw its record low in votes during the election. French President Emmanuel Macron had to take the risk of calling new legislative elections after suffering losses to the far-right opposition.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a snap general election for July 4 last month, as the Conservative Party faces an uphill battle to extend its 14 years in power. Canada’s Justin Trudeau, who has been involved in a series of scandals, will likely host next year’s edition of the G7 summit amid a difficult electoral campaign. In Japan, Fumio Kishida has seen his approval levels fall to a historic low of just 16 percent.

However, last week, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s arch-conservative Brothers of Italy group upped its share of the vote to 29 percent in the European parliamentary election, boosting her standing both at home and abroad, which made Meloni boast that Italy “had the strongest government in the G7.”

Oreste Massari, a professor of political science at Rome’s Sapienza University, told Xinhua that Meloni’s rise is due to an overall rise in the fortunes of right-wing and nationalist parties across Europe and beyond.

Meloni pushes priorities important in Italy, including migration and African issues. “Mattei Plan,” the Italian official project, was promoted by Meloni during her talks with President Biden, aiming to reshape Italy’s strategy towards the African continent.

DISPUTES ON AI, ABORTION

The communique mentioned that the group will promote “safe, secure, and trustworthy AI,” vowing to step up efforts to enhance interoperability among AI governance approaches.

Stressing the impact of AI on the military domain, the group said military use of AI should be ensured to be responsible.

But so far they have differed on how to do so. According to widespread media reports, the European countries in the G7 favor tighter regulations, while the United States favors an approach using markets.

Leaders seem to have postponed making definitive decisions on a rulebook regarding the topic until their next summit in Canada next year.

Abortion emerged as one of the key contentious issues among member states, with France and Canada taking a progressive stance, while Italy’s rightwing Meloni advocated for a more conservative approach.

While last year’s G7 summit in Japan did include a commitment to ensuring safe and legal access to abortion, it is noteworthy that this year’s final communique did not mention the word “abortion” at all.

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