When is the G7 summit and what is going to be on the agenda in Cornwall?

·4-min read
World flags, including the flag of Cornwall (right), decorate The Cornish Arms in St Ives, Cornwall (PA)
World flags, including the flag of Cornwall (right), decorate The Cornish Arms in St Ives, Cornwall (PA)

The G7 summit is to take place on British soil for the first time in eight years, this weekend in Cornwall.

The world’s leaders will converge on the tourist town of Carbis Bay to thrash out the global response to key issues such as the Covid pandemic and the climate crisis.

We take a look at the main questions ahead of this year’s event:

Where is the G7 Summit taking place?

A police vehicle driving in St Ives harbour (PA)
A police vehicle driving in St Ives harbour (PA)

The G7 summit is taking place in Carbis Bay, near St Ives, in Cornwall.

It is the first time the UK has hosted the gathering since 2013, when David Cameron welcomed the world’s leaders to Northern Ireland.

It is the seventh time the UK has hosted the G7 (the first was hosted in London in 1977), with Germany set to host next year.

When does the G7 summit take place?

Police officers walk along the seafront in St Ives (PA)
Police officers walk along the seafront in St Ives (PA)

The 47th G7 summit is set to take place over this coming weekend, with proceedings kicking off on Friday 11th June and running through to Sunday.

It is the first time the G7 leaders have convened in person since the 2019 edition which was held in Biarritz, France.

Last year, during the coronavirus pandemic, the meeting was hosted via video conferencing, much to the irritation of the then US president Donald Trump, whose country was due to host the event.

Who is attending the G7 summit?

Joe Biden will be in attendance (PA Wire)
Joe Biden will be in attendance (PA Wire)

As ever, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States will be in attendance.

Alongside them, the presidents of the European Commission and European Council are permanently welcomed to the summit.

Invited leaders this year include Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, Indian president Narendra Modi, South Korea’s Moon Jae-in and Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.

What does G7 mean?

The Group of Seven (G7) refers to the seven nations involved - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

As of 2018, the G7 represents 58 per cent of the global net wealth.

What will be discussed?

Vaccine distribution will be up for debate (PA Wire)
Vaccine distribution will be up for debate (PA Wire)

Pressure is growing on leaders of the G7 club of rich nations to provide more funding to deal with climate change, and surplus Covid vaccines for developing countries as an act of global solidarity.

Green groups, development agencies and international policy experts said those gestures would be effective in building trust ahead of November’s COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, seen as crucial to putting the 2015 Paris climate accord into practice.

But persuading G7 leaders to dig deeper has been further complicated by Britain’s decision to temporarily cut its overseas aid budget due to Covid economic woes, even while doubling its climate finance in the next five years.

Pete Betts, a former EU lead climate negotiator, said the UK aid decision had caused disappointment in the developing world and prompted senior officials in other rich countries to question why they should raise their climate finance pledges.

What about Russia and Vladimir Putin?

Russian President Vladimir Putin (AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (AP)

There is constant discussion about whether or not Russia should be represented at these meetings again and Donald Trump pushed for Vladimir Putin to be invited at last year’s video event.

Russia will be at the forefront during the summit and the days afterward when US president Joe Biden meets with European leaders and NATO allies in Brussels, before heading to Geneva to meet Putin.

US officials are considering sharper action against Russia after two incidents– a ransomware attack on JBS, the world’s largest meatpacker, by a criminal group likely based in Russia; and Putin backing of Belarus after it forced a Ryanair flight to land so it could arrest a dissident journalist.

What about any planned protests?

Police boat activity in St Ives harbour (PA)
Police boat activity in St Ives harbour (PA)

Thousands of police have been drafted in from across Britain to beef up security for what organisers promise will be disruptive and “annoying” protests.

Police have closed off roads and coastal paths to Carbis Bay, the small seaside resort which is hosting the event, erecting steel fences and putting other restrictions in place.

An extra 5,000 officers have been drafted in to help the operation with about 6,500 officers and staff involved altogether, Devon and Cornwall Police said.

“Our rights weren’t won through quiet, polite protest. Our rights were won through being noisy, disruptive and annoying,” said the Kill The Bill group, one of about 20 activist organisations to have joined a Resist G7 Coalition.

Finally, how will Boris Johnson play this summit?

Boris Johnson (PA Wire)
Boris Johnson (PA Wire)

Boris Johnson will meet US President Joe Biden face-to-face on Thursday, but is unlikely to highlight the strength of the “special relationship” because the Prime Minister does not like the expression.

Downing Street said Mr Johnson “prefers not to use the phrase” but is instead intent on fostering a “close relationship” with Washington.

Meanwhile, speaking at a Wellcome summit on what is needed from the G7 to end the pandemic, Dr Ayoade Alakija, co-chair of the Africa Union’s Africa Vaccine Delivery Alliance, said: “Boris Johnson, who is chairing or leading the G7 this year, this could very well be his Churchillian moment.”

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