The meeting is the first for US President Joe Biden – and likely the last for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
When the club of great powers now gathers with France, Canada, Germany, Italy, the United States, Japan and Great Britain, issues such as climate, global trade, relations with Russia and China and of course the pandemic are also on the agenda.
The host of the meeting, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said in his opening address on Friday afternoon that the G7 meeting – the first with a physical presence in nearly two years – represented a “great opportunity” to begin post-pandemic recovery.
“Feminine and gender-neutral”
We must make sure that when we recover, we will raise other levels and build more. We, the Group of Seven, have a great opportunity to do that, Johnson said.
The British Prime Minister also made it clear in his speech that after the “wretched epidemic” it became possible to build something new “in a more gender-neutral and more feminine way”.
Queen Elizabeth went to the meeting with her attendance on the opening day. In the evening, the 95-year-old king, along with several family members, hosted a reception in the world’s largest greenhouse, the Eden Project.
It was the first time the Queen had met Joe Biden – thus becoming the 13th US president she had met in the 69 years on the throne.
The last time, the G7 was scheduled to be held with Donald Trump as host in the United States, but this meeting was canceled due to the spread of infection.
The pandemic characterizes a lot of the logistics around this year’s meeting: events take place with real social distance and dinners are taken outdoors if possible.
Despite the precautions, it appears that some small viruses have infiltrated through them. A hotel in neighboring St Ives, where several security guards were said to be meeting, has been closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, Britain BBC. No outbreaks were reported among the participants.
“Global Vaccine Arsenal”
The meeting had already preceded it, and it had made waves in world politics. Joe Biden announced plans to “make the United States the world’s vaccine arsenal” by donating half a billion doses of the vaccine to countries that have fallen behind in vaccination. Britain says it expects the G7 nations collectively to be able to promise 1 billion doses.
French President Emmanuel Macron called on the United States to contribute to efforts to stabilize the five African Sahel countries. Last week, all G7 countries also agreed to support a minimum tax of 15 percent for global businesses.
Many new arrivals
Biden is not the only newcomer to the G7. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will also participate for the first time.
Also in attendance are European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel, as well as leaders from Australia, South Africa and South Korea who were invited by Britain as guests to this year’s meeting at the windswept Carbis Bay beach in southwest England.
Facts: This awaits the participants
Photo session on the beach in Caprice Bay. Talk about how the world should recover from the pandemic. A trip to the world’s largest greenhouse, the Eden Project, where Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Prince William and his wife Kate welcome visitors.
Dinner: grilled salmon, followed by strawberry pavlova.
Talks about economic recovery, foreign policy status and health. Joining UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and leaders from Australia, South Africa and South Korea. Melinda French Gates and British Government Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance give lectures to guests.
Dinner: BBQ on the beach: steak and crab followed by a hot rum and grilled marshmallows.
Conversations about climate and nature begin with a pre-recorded announcement by David Attenborough. Talks about the open society. Participants prepare a statement for the press conferences that conclude the meeting.
G7 was formed in 1975 and stands for the Group of Seven. It is an informal forum of the countries usually called the richest in the world: France, Italy, Japan, Canada, Great Britain, Germany and the United States. The European Union is also involved with representatives, and this year too Australia, South Africa and South Korea, which the United Kingdom invited as guests.
China, whose economic and political power took off long after the formation of the G7, despite its importance today, is not included.
Between 1997 and 2014, the club was called the G8. This also included Russia, whose confidence was considered depleted with the conquest of Crimea.