One day into the G7 summit of 2017, and the group are just as divided as they are united.
A signed agreement on combating terrorism has been reached, with UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who’s only attending the first day, leading calls for internet companies to combat extremist material being published online. The G7 have put their support behind companies to develop tools to do this, such as the an international industry-led forum, to help the development of these tools. The agreement on combating terrorism extends to the issue of the ‘largely ungoverned space’ on Europe’s borders. In her speech PM May calls for support on an UN-led effort to bring parties round the negotiating table, and reduce the threat of terrorism. With regards to Syria, an agreement was made that unless a political solution away from President Assad is reached terrorism cannot be effectively combated. Further agreements were made with regards to Iran, challenging its destabilising influence in the region, and preventing it from developing nuclear weapons capability; and with regards to North Korea, leaders united in condemning North Korean missile tests, with President Trump promising Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the issue ‘will be solved’.
PM Theresa May, who will be leading the UK out of the EU if she wins the general election, reaffirmed her commitment to free trade, yet recognised globalisation is not working for everyone and supports actions to address this issue. However, the official announcement from the G7 is still to be made. Leaders here were a little more divided on the issue, with uncertainty over Trump’s economic protectionism, and his calling the Germans ‘very bad’ on trade. The Italian Prime Minister Gentiloni commented saying that direct discussions had resulted in common positions from which work can be done.
Divisions were a little more obvious with regards to climate change, mostly between President Trump and the rest, with all leaders, except Trump, confirming their commitment to the Paris Agreement. However, according to Trump’s economic adviser Gary Cohn, Trump’s views on climate change are still in development, leaving leaders hopeful that Trump will eventually decide, after some ‘internal reflection’ to commit to the Paris Agreement.
Further divisions were encountered on the migration and food security issues, which the Italians wanted to bring to the table. The Italian proposals highlighting the positive effects of migration were dismissed by Trump in pre-summit talks, with the Trump administration emphasising a state’s right to control its borders and migration.
On day 2 (May 27, 2017) of the summit the G7 are expected to meet with Heads of State/ Government from five African countries, with the Italians hoping to promote economic development on the continent in an effort to address some of the underlying causes for the migration crisis.
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