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G7 summit kicks off under shadow of Ukraine war, stagflation risk

PoliticsG7 summit kicks off under shadow of Ukraine war, stagflation risk

Schloss Elmau (The Times Groupe)- The German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will welcome leaders from the Group of Seven rich democracies to the Bavarian Alps on Sunday for a three-day summit overshadowed by the war in Ukraine and its far-reaching consequences.

This year’s summit takes place against a darker backdrop than last year, when British, Canadian, French, German, Italian, Japanese and U.S. leaders met for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic and vowed to rebuild.

As a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, global energy and food prices are rising.

The United Nations warned on Friday of an “unprecedented global hunger crisis”.

Also on the agenda are climate change, China’s increasing assertiveness, and authoritarianism.

In addition to backing Ukraine for as long as necessary and ratcheting up pressure on the Kremlin, the G7 leaders should avoid sanctions that could exacerbate the cost-of-living crisis among their own citizens.

“The main message from the G7 will be unity and coordination of action… That’s the main message, that even through difficult times… we stick to our alliance,” an EU official said.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters that the G7 partners are about to agree to ban gold imports from Russia. Afterwards, a German government source said leaders were having “constructive” discussions about a possible price cap on Russian oil imports.

It is also expected that the G7 leaders will discuss ways to reduce energy prices and replace Russian oil and gas imports.

As in 2015, the summit will be held at the castle resort of Schloss Elmau at the foot of Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze. In the year following Moscow’s invasion of Crimea, Russian aggression against Ukraine also dominated the agenda.

The summit also gives Scholz the opportunity to demonstrate more assertive leadership on the Ukraine crisis as the host.

After Russia’s invasion in February, the German chancellor promised a revolution in German foreign and defense policy, promising a 100 billion euro fund and sending weapons to Ukraine.

After warning that Russia might perceive NATO as a war party and highlighting the risk of nuclear war, critics have accused him of foot-dragging.

The G7 was established in 1975 to discuss crises such as the OPEC oil embargo among the richest nations.

Following the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia was admitted to the G8. After annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, Moscow was suspended.

As partners, Scholz has invited Senegal, the current chair of the African Union, Argentina, the current head of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, as well as Indonesia and India, the current and next hosts of the G20 group of large industrial nations.

“It is important that NATO and the G7 send the message that the democracies of the world stand together against Putin’s imperialism, just as they do in the fight against hunger and poverty,” Scholz told the German parliament this week.

Western sanctions are causing collateral damage to many countries of the global south.

According to an EU official, G7 countries will ensure partner countries that the spikes in food prices are the result of Russia’s actions, not sanctions. Additionally, thinking of the Ukraine war as a local issue was a mistake.

“It’s more than this. It’s questioning the order, the post Second World War order,” the official said.

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