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G-7 leaders fighting on 2 fronts

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12.06.2021

Welcome to Day 2 of the G-7 summit.

It’s Queen Elizabeth’s official birthday, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken got in early, offering “best wishes” to Her Majesty for a “lifetime of leadership and dedication to service” that he called “an example for all nations.” Expect a flood of similar sentiments from other leaders throughout the day.

There’s been another positive Covid test at the summit — a police officer, housed with hundreds of others on a cruise ship just off Falmouth harbour — sending others into isolation.

In terms of serious summit business, the leaders will be talking about China today and, below the surface, it’s Brexit tensions that threaten to disrupt proceedings.

Let’s get into it.

What are the big topics, and most juicy one-to-one meetings today?

Anita Kumar

White House Correspondent & Associate Editor

I don’t know about “juicy” but the meeting I’m watching Friday is between Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron. Biden will have some other casual meetings (those are called “pull asides” in summit lingo) but his only formal bilateral meeting is with Macron. Some American diplomats wondered how much Macron, who tried to fill the U.S. leadership vacuum left when Donald Trump was president, would embrace Biden. But in their first meeting Friday, they locked arms during a walk and spoke animatedly to each other — an interaction that immediately led some British media to dub it a budding bromance.

Rym Momtaz

Senior Correspondent, France

Hands-down the bilat between Macron and Biden. Macron’s delighted the U.S. is back with its full weight behind multilateralism, but actually wants Biden to show him the money — in particular on lifting the U.S. export ban on Covid-19 vaccine components, and acknowledging what Macron sees as the great strides achieved by Europe in “strategic autonomy “ during the Trump years. Taken in the broad sense, that means progress on 5G, reshoring production capacities, leading on setting global climate standards, and of course defense. Macron also doesn’t share Biden’s focus on China as the central next big threat — that’s bound to be an animated discussion. Macron did manage to refrain calling the transatlantic Alliance “brain dead” at his presser on Thursday, but he did say it still needs “a big strategic clarification.”

David M. Herszenhorn

Chief Brussels Correspondent

While Anita and Rym train their telescope looking for signs of a Biden-Macron bromance (can’t imagine they’ll hold hands or blab as long as Trump and Macron did), I’ll be keeping a close ear on discussions among all nine leaders about foreign policy and health. China will be a major focus of the foreign policy session, as will Russia. But Ethiopia is also an increasing source of concern. On health, the leaders broadly share the goal of ending the pandemic by next year, but there has been barely disguised jousting over who should get credit for supplying vaccines to the rest of the world.

Things could get tense as they — or rather their “sherpas” behind the scenes — try to settle on specific language, including on vaccine donations but also the controversial topic of waiving patent protections (endorsed by Biden, but........

© Politico


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