G7 in Sicily: the New Summit, the Old and New Problems

The summit confirmed increasing problems and confidence crisis between the two countries

G7 leaders meeting was held in the Sicilian town of Taormina, southern Italy, on May 26 and 27, 2017. The summit itself  was  focused on  the global  economy,  foreign  policy,  security  of  citizens,  and  environmental  sustainability. The EU was represented by the Presidents of the European Council and Commission.

G7 leaders have reiterated their commitment to use all policy measures, including monetary, fiscal and structural, to achieve sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. They also acknowledged that gender equality is crucial for sustainable development; a G7 Roadmap for Gender-Responsive Economic Environment was adopted. Leaders also have agreed to put in coordinated efforts to contain the problem of large scale migration and establish partnership with countries to address the causes of migration. G7 Taormina Statement on the fight against terrorism and violent extremism was also adopted at the summit.

The summit stressed once again that the world is in confidence crisis. In the final communiqué noted that the purpose of the meeting of the Group of Seven was the unification of efforts to restore confidence between the countries and their governments within states. The determination of the participants to fight for the establishment of international order and sustainable development was stressed. In addition, the important role of culture in the modern world was highlighted. The participants of the forum actually agreed with the inaccessibility of sustainable development by 2030.

Foreign policy

G7 leaders called on to put an end to the conflict in Syria through the establishment of a Syrian political process in the country under the supervision of the UN. They also expressed their intention to increase efforts in the fight against international terrorism, especially against ISIS and “al-Qaeda”. The Group of Seven in fact shifted blame for the violence, humanitarian disaster, the use of chemical weapons in Syria onto Russia and Iran supporting the regime of President Assad. The Syrian government is responsible for the use of chemical weapons.

The summit called on all Libyan forces for political dialogue and national reconciliation. At the same time, participants openly expressed support for the Palestinian national consensus government.

The Group of Seven also condemned the nuclear tests in North Korea and ballistic missiles launches. The summit appealed to the DPRK to desist from all programs in missile and nuclear field and to make the process of their closing irreversible and verifiable.

During the summit was discussed the situation in Ukraine. It was stated that sanctions against Russia are directly linked to the implementation of the Minsk agreements in full and, if necessary, can even be tightened. Moscow is fully responsible for the conflict in Ukraine.

The summit participants also expressed concern over the situation in the East China and South China seas, are actually taking the anti-Chinese position. This China has expressed its strong protest.

The Group of Seven announced plans to strengthen cooperation to counter cyber attacks and propaganda aimed at public opinion.

Global economy

The highest priority of the G7 was announced the growth of the global economy to enhance living standards and improve working conditions. The leaders reiterated their commitment “to use all policy tools, including monetary, financial and structural, to achieve visible, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.” Special attention was paid to monetary policy that aims to provide economic activity and ensure price stability. Tax policy should be used flexibly to enhance economic growth and create new jobs.

Inequality reduction

Leaders acknowledged that inequality of countries and different groups of population within states undermines confidence and restricts opportunities for growth in the future. They agreed to intensify the efforts to increase the flexibility of economies and societies.

The summit reiterated that the struggle for gender equality is an important contribution to the achievement of sustainable development. Leaders adopted a roadmap for the creation of equal economic conditions for women and girls.

Trade

The Group of Seven confirmed its readiness to keep markets open and to fight protectionism. Countries have made commitments to implement policy that would allow any firms and citizens to use most of its features provided by the global economy.

The summit called for the removal of barriers impeding the establishment of equal conditions for everyone. The importance of the existence of a rules-based multilateral trading system was also stressed. The participants pledged to cooperate in improving the WTO functioning. Prior to the summit, many negotiators doubted that it will be possible to reach a compromise during the discussion of protectionism due to the previously announced D. Trump’s position. However, the parties have managed to achieve the compromise.

Migration

The leaders of the Group of Seven urged to coordinate efforts at national and international levels to solve the problems of large-scale movements of migrants and refugees. They called on to make a distinction between migrants and refugees, to cooperate in helping countries to establish conditions for the elimination of the migration causes.

The summit participants also acknowledged the right of states to control their borders and pursue policy in the national interest. In fact, G7 agreed with the right of states to close borders and to define their own migration policy, which significantly differs from the policies imposed by the EU countries.

Africa

African security, stability, and sustainable development are the main priorities of the G7 Group. The latter intends to expand cooperation and dialogue with the countries of the continent, as well as with regional organizations to enhance African capabilities to prevent, deter, and manage crises and conflicts. Europe is ready to invest in this continent. Actually, it was announced about the desire of the West to get unlimited access to African energy resources.

The leaders of the G7 countries have also announced their intention to save around 500 million people in Africa from hunger and malnutrition. These African countries are rich in resources, especially energetic. China intends to build one of the routes of the “Silk Road” there. Investments in these countries will mean a significant strengthening of the West influence that can call into question the future of the Chinese route.

Climate and energy

The summit also expressed commitment to strengthen cooperation of the G7 countries to achieve energy security.

As for solutions in the field of climate, the differences about the Paris agreement could not be overcome.

Innovations, skilled workforce and human resources

The G7 leaders adopted the action plan in the areas of innovations, skilled workforce and human resources. The plan contains some recommendations to countries how to conduct policy aimed at increasing competitiveness and stimulating economic growth through innovations. The participants expressed concern for the fact that technological progress creates problems that require rethinking of approaches to education and training of qualified personnel.

Thus, the summit in Sicily once again demonstrated stereotypical thinking of the G7 leaders despite many heads of state participated in it, and actually confirmed increasing problems and confidence crisis between the two countries.

summit G7