The federal government is expecting a clear sign of support for Ukraine from the G7 summit that begins on Sunday in Schloss Elmau, Bavaria. A joint declaration by the participating heads of state and government from the seven leading Western industrialized countries is planned, according to German government circles on Saturday evening. This will send “a strong signal of support”. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will attend the summit on Monday via video link.
According to the federal government, the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine will shape “a large part of the debates” in Elmau. The democratically governed G7 states will clearly oppose Russia’s actions: From the point of view of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the summit host, it is “important that this meeting sends a signal of unity,” government circles said.
In this context, the Federal Government is also aiming for a joint declaration from the summit on the principle of the rule of law in the international order. This would be a “big signal” given the tense world situation, it said.
The deliberations begin on Sunday at 12 noon under the direction of Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the G7 summit of democratic economic powers. Before the opening meeting at Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps, Scholz spoke to US President Joe Biden, who arrived at the conference venue that night. It is Biden’s first visit to Germany since he took office in early 2021.
Much of the summit will revolve around the Ukraine war and its aftermath. The G7 countries are likely to again pledge support to the country attacked by Russia for as long as it is needed. Concrete financial commitments are expected in the fight against famine, which is particularly prevalent in East Africa and is becoming even worse given the rising grain prices in the course of the war. The high energy prices will also be an issue in Elmau, and of course climate protection
The G7 includes seven of the world’s most economically powerful democracies: Germany, the USA, France, Great Britain, Italy, Canada and Japan. EU Council President Charles Michel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will also take part in the summit. Scholz has also invited five guest countries – democracies from Asia, Africa and South America: India, Indonesia, South Africa, Senegal and Argentina. “Our understanding of democracy falls short if we only focus on the classic West,” says Scholz in justification.
The summit takes place in a castle that has been converted into a five-star hotel in the Bavarian Wetterstein mountains. Because of its seclusion at an altitude of around 1000 meters near the border with Austria, the hotel is considered the ideal place for such a meeting. The area is largely cordoned off with heavily guarded, kilometer-long fences. The palace, built in 1916 by the philosopher Johannes Müller, was rebuilt in 2005 after a major fire and expanded with a new building where the guests of the G7 summit will stay overnight.
Ukraine: Scholz wants to campaign for support in the G7 for the idea of a “Marshall Plan” for the reconstruction of war-torn Ukraine. Between 1948 and 1952, the USA used such a plan to help Germany and other European countries get back on their feet after six years of war. Scholz now wants to convene an expert conference to deal with how to organize investments in Ukraine.
Russian oil price cap: The US wants to reach an agreement in principle at the G7 meeting on its proposal for an international price cap for Russian oil. It envisages forcing Russia to sell oil to large buyers such as India at a significantly lower price in the future. This could work by the West tying services such as insurance for oil shipments to compliance with the price cap. On the one hand, the upper limit is intended to ensure that Russia no longer benefits from price increases on the energy market. On the other hand, it should contribute to a relaxation on the oil markets worldwide. Not only in the EU, but also in the USA, the high fuel prices are currently a big issue.
Climate protection: Originally intended as a top topic, climate protection has slipped into the second row in the course of the war. Scholz wants to promote his idea of the climate club, which dates back to his time as finance minister: This should enable close coordination of climate protection measures and give the implementation of the Paris climate protection agreement an additional boost internationally.
Democracy: Scholz wants to strengthen international cooperation, network democracies more closely, but at the same time avoid the formation of blocs between the West and authoritarian states such as Russia and China. That’s why he invited the host countries.
Food crisis: Experts warn of the worst famine since World War II as a result of the Ukraine war. The G7 will seek ways to unblock Ukraine’s grain exports across the Black Sea – and make financial pledges to help countries hardest hit by the food crisis.
G20: Can cooperation with Russia continue within this group of the world’s largest economic powers? This is a question that the heads of state and government of the G7 countries need an answer to after the start of the Ukraine war. Indonesian President Joko Widodo is set to host the next G20 summit in Bali in November.
Before the summit, Scholz tried to dampen expectations. “Elmau is in the mountains, we will certainly not move mountains there,” he said on his weekly podcast on Saturday, but added: “We can make important decisions and prepare things that are useful for all of us.”