After almost two years without meeting, representatives of the seven richest countries in the world met again in person last weekend. A relaxed meeting in Cornwall between smiles, meetings overlooking the bay and the absence of masks, in which they talked about the pandemic and climate change. Although the president of the United States, Joe Biden, did not want to leave without putting the Chinese threat on the table.
And the thing is that something has changed with respect to the Biarritz meeting in 2019, Donald Trump was not there, and with him went the rudeness, the tensions and the disagreements. The Biden era arrives and with it multilateralism.
With almost 4 million deaths later, the pandemic continues to pose a global threat, especially in poor countries. For this reason, within the so-called Carbis Bay Declaration (in honor of the place where it has been signed), the seven powers have agreed to donate one billion vaccines to the countries most in need.
A measure that, from several NGOs, assure that it is late and insufficient: “It is curious that the statement says that they will do everything they can as quickly as possible, and then speak of a billion doses in the next year. Quite interesting to see how they think that one billion doses over a year would actually end the pandemic. It’s very funny, because that would not serve even 5% of the population, “explained Edwin Ikhuoria, Executive Director for Africa of The ONE Campaign.
On the other hand, The Carbis agreement also seeks to strengthen the World Health Organization and try to prevent another pandemic such as COVID-19 from repeating itself. The same WHO estimates that, to end the pandemic worldwide, some 11,000 million doses are needed.
The assistants, yes, they want to end the pandemic in the most “green and egalitarian” way possible, in the words of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself. A decision that, once again, has received criticism from environmental organizations which ensure that the agreed measures are outside the commitments of the Paris Agreement.
“The Paris agreement has not adhered to what they should have signed. They have broken all those promises, basically. So we are asking you to stop investing in fossil fuels,” says Andy Leatherbarrow, a member of Extinction Rebellion.
The seven powers have agreed to set more ambitious targets for 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2050. By the end of 2021, they have pledged to end direct aid to coal-fired power plants. Although the most specific objectives have ended up falling out of the final agreement, the seven are optimistic about limiting global warming to 1.5ºC as stated in the Paris agreement.
The rival is China again
A “transparent infrastructure” plan. That is what the White House has wanted to propose to its European colleagues to face the new Silk Road with which China seeks to expand its economic influence.
It is a boost to the creation of infrastructures that are so necessary in developing countries, in order to strengthen ties and encourage economic relations. An effort that aims to reach the entire planet “the different partners of the G7 will have different geographical orientations, but the sum of the initiative will cover low and middle income countries around the world,” explains a statement from the Biden Administration.
Hand in hand with the private sector, the White House proposes to bring “hundreds of billions of dollars of investment in infrastructure to low- and middle-income countries in the coming years.”
But the calm and affable atmosphere after the Trump era and the pandemic, has not been able to hide an issue that is still latent: Brexit. French President Emnanuel Macron already warned Johnson before the summit that there is nothing to renegotiate in the Brexit deal. And is that the premiere He had already opened the box of a possible renegotiation, something that has not sat well in Brussels.
Also the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, highlighted in an interview with Euronews that on leaving the United Kingdom everything had already been agreed, and that it only remained to stick to the established plan: “We have shown a lot of flexibility. We hope that our British friends will show the same flexibility and limit themselves to doing their work and applying what we have agreed to.” .
The United Kingdom Government has already delayed several customs controls that should already be in force and is also threatening to miss the June 30 deadline, when the control of meat products that pass from Great Britain to Northern Ireland should begin. Brussels, for its part, has taken legal action.
Johnson argues that the measures to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, affect its economy too much, although it is true that this may have persuaded him before an agreement. The border between Ireland and Ulster was one of the most delicate agreements of the Brexit. A hard border between the two could reactivate armed conflicts in the region.