Dhe G-7 countries on Sunday announced a new $600 billion global infrastructure investment initiative. US President Joe Biden said his country will commit $200 billion in public and private capital to the infrastructure investment partnership. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced 300 billion euros for “Team Europe”. Japan wants to participate with 65 billion dollars.
Both Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Biden and von der Leyen emphasized that the democracies wanted to make a new offer for closer cooperation to developing countries. The G7 had already agreed on such a project last year, but did not back it with sums. The initiative is also intended to help counter China’s Silk Road project, with which the communist government wants to bind countries to itself through lending and infrastructure projects.
“It’s up to us to give the world a positive and strong investment push to show our partners in developing countries that they have a choice and that we want to join forces to meet their development needs,” said von der Leyen in Allusion to China. Other G-7 heads of government also emphasized that the West could make better offers for cooperation.
At the beginning of their meeting on Sunday, the most important western industrialized countries initially discussed the global economic situation. Scholz emphasized that everyone was worried about the various crises such as skyrocketing energy prices and inflation. The G-7 includes the United States, Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Canada and Japan.
According to information from negotiating circles, the debate also revolved around the contentious questions of a price cap for the purchase of Russian oil and whether the G-7 countries should temporarily speak out in favor of investing in the exploration of fossil energies such as gas fields. Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi advocated such investments if investments in renewable energies are made in developing countries at the same time. In addition, new investments in gas infrastructure would have to be able to be used later for the use of hydrogen.
In the evening, the heads of state and government want to discuss how the G7 should react to Russia’s ongoing attacks on Ukraine. The US announced that the G-7 would vote for a gold embargo on Russia, one of the world’s largest gold exporters. While the USA, Canada, Japan and Great Britain can already decide this, this has yet to be discussed in the EU. Ukraine can also count on additional billions in commitments to stabilize the country.
In view of new violent Russian attacks on Ukraine, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba demanded that the G-7 countries respond to the new rocket attacks on the capital Kyiv with further sanctions against Russia and the delivery of heavy weapons to his country. Biden spoke of “barbarism”.
Other topics of the three-day deliberations under the highest security precautions are the fight against possible famine, high energy and food prices, gender equality and support for the global fight against the pandemic. Host Scholz has also invited India, Indonesia, South Africa, Argentina and Senegal to the consultations for Monday. In addition, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj is connected via video. No significant demonstrations or disruptions to the summit were reported on Sunday.
At a bilateral meeting at the beginning of the G-7 summit, US President Biden and Scholz invoked transatlantic cooperation and EU unity. “We are the closest partners,” Biden said. From the start, Russian President Vladimir Putin had expected that NATO and the G7 would somehow split up. “But we haven’t and we won’t. We will stay together,” he said. Scholz spoke of a “strong message”.
Biden expressly thanked Scholz several times for his work. “I want to congratulate you for getting involved like you did when you became chancellor,” he said. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” he added. The remarks also come amid a heated debate, particularly in Europe, about the right policy towards Ukraine. Criticism, especially from Eastern Europe, is that Germany and France are not supplying Ukraine with enough weapons and that Scholz and Macron are sticking to maintaining contact with Putin despite all the harsh criticism and sanctions.