PARIS (Reuters) – Leaders of the G7 nations arrive in France on Saturday for a summit as a brewing U.S.-China confrontation over protectionism highlighted President Emmanuel Macron’s tough task in delivering meaningful results on trade, Iran and climate change.
French policemen stand guard near the Grande Plage beach ahead of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, August 22, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
The three-day meeting in the Atlantic seaside resort of Biarritz takes place amid sharp differences over a clutch of global issues that risk further dividing a group of countries already struggling to pull together.
Summit host Macron wants the leaders of Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States to focus on the defense of democracy, gender equality, education and climate change, and has invited leaders from Asia, Africa and Latin America to join them for a global push on these issues.
But with the trade war between China and the United States escalating, European governments struggling to defuse tensions between Washington and Tehran and global condemnation growing over illegal fires in the Amazon, his agenda could be eclipsed.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s history of pugnacity at multilateral gatherings, which brought last year’s G7 summit to an acrimonious conclusion, means there is scant hope for substantive agreements. France has already decided that, to avoid another failure, there will be no final communique.
“French President Emmanuel Macron… bills the meeting as a chance to relaunch multilateralism, promote democracy and tame globalization to ensure it works for everyone,” Stewart Patrick of the Council on Foreign Relations wrote.
“More likely, the gathering will expose the political, economic and ideological fault lines threatening Western solidarity and international cooperation.”
Trump’s walkout at the Charlevoix summit in Canada last year prompted foreign policy observers to dub the Group of Seven nations the G6+1.
U.S. officials said Trump would tout his policies of tax cuts and deregulation and press allies to follow his example to stave off problems with the g