G7 summit kicks off in Germany with Ukraine top of list


SCHLOSS ELMAU, Germany

Since the start of Russia’s war on Ukraine, the first in-person gathering of the world’s seven major economies kicked off in Germany on Sunday with leaders discussing the food and energy crises caused by the war.

The three-day event is taking place at Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps, with its agenda seen as more urgent than ever as the war in Ukraine continues.

After taking over the UK’s G7 presidency in January, Germany set itself a goal of “progress towards a fair world”.

Under the theme, issues such as a sustainable planet, economic stability and transformation, healthy lives and sustainable investments will be discussed.

As the UN has repeatedly warned of an “unprecedented global hunger crisis” following the Russian-Ukrainian war, G7 leaders are expected to make new commitments on food security and the fight against against rising energy prices.

On Saturday, large numbers of protesters gathered in Munich to demand a fight against extreme hunger, social justice and an end to the use of fossil fuels.

From Attac (Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions and Citizen Action) to the World Wildlife Fund, around fifteen groups critical of globalization are expected to take part in the summit events.

Focus on the profound consequences of the war

The situation in Ukraine is expected to be high on the agenda, with leaders pledging more aid to the country.

The world’s seven richest countries will announce bans on Russian gold imports, US President Joe Biden said on Sunday.

“Together, the G7 will announce that we will ban the import of Russian gold, a major export that brings tens of billions of dollars to Russia,” he announced on Twitter.

“We will stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes. The negative global impact of Russia’s war will be at the center of our discussions at the G7,” EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said.

Furthermore, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has once again made it clear that the government will continue to support Ukraine.

“Now is not the time to abandon Ukraine, they need the support and determination of the G7 more than ever,” he said on Twitter.

“The UK will continue to support Ukraine every step of the way because we know its security is our security and its freedom is our freedom,” he added.

Johnson is expected to tell summit leaders that President Zelensky needs Western support now more than ever.

According to the UK government’s statement, the UK is ready to guarantee an additional half a billion dollars in loans to the Ukrainian government, bringing the UK’s total economic and humanitarian support to over £1.5 billion ( $1.8 billion).

Security measures

German police, meanwhile, have completed their preparations to deal with possible protests at the event.

More than 20,000 police officers will be on duty for the security of the G7 leaders.

The 4-kilometer area around Elmau Palace, where the summit will be held, has been closed.

Demonstrators will also open a protest camp against the G7 summit in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where around 750 people are expected.

A total of 260 containers have been installed at the city’s Olympic Ski Stadium in which police, prosecutors and judges will work in 24-hour shifts to try those detained during the protests.

Meanwhile, during the G7 summit, Germany temporarily suspended the Schengen app, which provides for free movement, for security reasons.

The German Ministry of the Interior started carrying out temporary checks at Germany’s borders between June 13 and July 3, 2022.

To prevent potentially violent people from entering Germany, border controls are applied at the country’s land, air and sea borders.

Who is coming?

US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will attend the summit.

Besides the seven states, Indonesia, India, South Africa, Senegal and Argentina are also invited.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address two sessions covering issues including environment, energy, climate, food security, health, gender equality and democracy.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, heads of state and government of partner countries and presidents of international organizations will also be involved via video link.

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