Europe to turn the Hamburg G20 Summit into a battlefield

Joint Press conference by the European G20 Partners after their preparatory meeting, on 29 June 2017, in Berlin. The meeting took place ahead of the G20 Summit 2017 in Hamburg, which is to take place on 7 and 8 July. From left to right: Jean-Claude Juncker, President European Commission, Paolo Gentiloni, Italian PM, Mariano Rajoy, Spanish PM, Emmanuel Macron, French President, Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, Mark Rutte, Dutch PM, Erna Solberg Norwegian PM,  Donald Tusk, President European Council.EU Audiovisual service presse.audiovisuel@consilium.europa.eu..

This week’s G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany is expected to become a battlefield from the very first gathering. Chancellor Angela Merkel is to attack the US President Donald Trump, about his rejection of the Paris Climate Agreement. The American will reply with a demand for ‘free and fair trade’ as he ventures it, especially for steel products. Following the President in his foggy agenda, the US administration is to ask for concerted measures to tackle the problem of excess capacity in global steel production, as if such a thing was feasible. Reportedly, Trump is to threaten the countries which export steel and steel products to the US, with quotas and extra tariffs on the amounts sold above the allowed quantities. In this way, the two main G20 participants, Europe and the US through such statements have already aired their intentions for a full confrontation.

Last Thursday in Berlin, the mainland European leaders who participate in the G20, Germany, France and Italy together with other EU member states such as Holland, held a preparatory meeting ahead of the Hamburg summit. Erna Solberg, the Norwegian Prime Minister also attended. Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, while opening this gathering, made it clear that Europe is to stand by its convictions vis-à-vis the Americans. He said it plainly, “We are determined to protect and even strengthen the rules-based international order. This is why we will speak with one voice at the G20 summit next week”. Let’s take one thing at a time.

One solid European front

Usually, the G20 summits are preordained to show unity amongst world powers, at least in theory. For this to be achieved, real differences are well hidden or altogether omitted from final communiqués. For this reason, the text of conclusions appears rather flat, with most of the content devoted to general character remarks and tautologies. It seems though that this time the Hamburg G20 will be different. For one thing, the European Union, energized by Germany, called a preparatory meeting in Berlin, which unanimously decided to jointly and comprehensively confront the US President on immigration and free trade. They also had a lot to say about China.

In this way, confrontation and frictions are certain to haunt the meetings, and the real differences will overtly be on the table. Reportedly, it’s even possible that this G20 doesn’t produce a final communiqué. At this point it must be mentioned that the participants at the G20 Summits are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. It goes without saying that only the big powers have a real say in the talks and at the drafting of decisions and communiqués. In any case, the whole edifice of G20 has a tentative character.

The EU sets the background

Tusk has indirectly pointed to this direction. In his introductory remarks in the Berlin meeting, he practically overstepped the G20 platform and referred Europe’s standpoints directly to the UN Security Council. He said “When it comes to migration just one remark: there is already a very ambitious and responsible language proposed by Chancellor Merkel…We could appeal to the other G20 members to consider for example UN sanctions against the smugglers. In order to put smugglers on the UN list we need the UN Security Council members to agree. The G20 format seems to be a good forum to bring it to the table”. The five permanent members of the powerful UN Security Council are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Angela Merkel went even further in setting a background of friction for the G20. Last week, speaking at the German Parliament, the Bundestag, in a clear reference to Trump’s standpoints she said, “Global problems could not be solved with protectionism and isolation”. Then, at the EU preparatory meeting in Berlin, in relation to the talks at the G20, she underlined that “These will not be easy talks…The differences are obvious and it would be wrong to pretend they aren’t there. I simply won’t do this.”

Angela Merkel, the French President Emmanuel Macron, Mark Rutte the Dutch PM and Erna Solberg, speaking after the Berlin meeting, appeared ready to confront the American President with one voice. Of course, they added that they do not wish to isolate Trump, but in reality this is exactly their target. To do this, Merkel was very active contacting other G20 leaders, at the exception of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Turk had planned a ‘private appearance’ and a speech in Hamburg, at an audience of his compatriot followers residing there. The event was blocked though by the German authorities on security and sovereignty reasons, enraging the Turkish ‘Sultan’.

Isolating Trump

In her efforts to isolate Trump, Merkel has of course taken special care to contact Moscow and Beijing. A Kremlin announcement confirmed the telephone call between Merkel and the Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to this source the subject matter of their discussion was the basic items of the agenda of the Hamburg summit. It also confirmed that the Paris Climate Agreement was at the center of the conversation.

In the case of China, however, the mood in Berlin was rather somber, also in view of the arrival of President Xi Jinping in Hamburg. Last Thursday, what Merkel had to say about China was rather critical. According to a report by the business weekly Wirtschafts Woche she said that “Europe must work hard to defend its influence and above all to speak with one voice to China. Seen from Beijing, Europe is more like an Asian peninsula. Obviously, we see things differently”. She was referring to aggressive buyouts of European cutting edge technology businesses by Chinese firms.

Jamming Chinese openings

The same source reported her as saying, “if countries like China then want to buy up what has been built with large subsidies, we have to react… We are willing to allow the Chinese to take part [in bids for government contracts] in Europe, but then we want access in the other direction to their procurement”. In this way, Merkel came closer to Macron, who wants the European Commission to acquire control on foreign direct investments in strategic EU industries.

It’s rather difficult, then, to predict what is going to happen in the G20 Summit of Hamburg this week. Surely, though, it won’t be a peaceful one.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Resolving banks with depositors’ money?

Could entrepreneurship be the real cure against the side effects of Brexit?

IMF’s Lagarde indirectly cautioned Eurozone on deflation

Brexit talks started with a London handicap and Brussels’ sternness

AIESEC @ European Business Summit 2014: European Youth, Change Now Patiently

The eighth round of TTIP negotiations concludes in Brussels amid scepticism and new fears

Human Resources Information Systems Specialist Trainee – 2013

19th EU-China Summit: A historical advance in the Chino-European rapprochement

TTIP wins Merkel’s endorsement ahead of 2016 tough deadline

A Sting Exclusive: “Without climate, forget about peace!”, Swedish MEP Bodil Valero cautions from Brussels

Jo Cox’s murderer believed the ‘leave’ campaign leaders that the ‘remain’ vote is treason

Why the 33,000 staff European Commission did not have a real contingency plan for the refugee crisis?

MasterCard at European Business Summit 2015: A focus on innovation will drive inclusive economic growth for Europe

Macron has the deputies but not the people’s consent for his far reaching reforms

Tiny Iceland teaches the West how to treat bankers

A Sting Exclusive: “Doing ourselves a favour”, Vice President Dombrovskis underscores that this time growth has to come from within the EU

EU Banks still get subsidies from impoverished citizens

Commission: Raising the social issues that can make or break the monetary union

Draghi’s top new year resolution: Quantitative Easing

EU to spend €6 billion on youth employment and training futile schemes

The four top Americans who flew to Europe perplexed things about Trump’s intentions

Eurozone: Sovereign debt decreases for the first time since 2007

EU Commission says falling labour remuneration leads to deflation and damages growth prospects

More taxpayers’ money for the banks

Eurozone: A Sluggish economy offers no extra jobs

EU Parliament: Follow the fraudulent money and confiscate it

Climate Change: a challenge yet to be tackled in medical schools

Eurozone slowly but surely builds its Banking Union

The “Legend of the Sun” wishes you Happy Chinese New Year 2015 from Brussels

AIESEC @ European Business Summit 2015: The power of an individual and how we can awaken Europe’s Youth

Europe rethinking its severe austerity policies

Assembly of European Regions @ European Business Summit 2014: The European regions on the path to recovery

What UK and EU risk if Brexit “wins” these elections

Quality Education on the table at the European Parliament

Banks get trillions and the unemployed ECB’s love…

EU Parliament: It takes real banks to fight unemployment and recession

On Human Rights Day European Youth Forum calls for end to discrimination of young people

What the future holds for the EU – China relations?

Lessons from the Global Entrepreneurship Index

Poor Greeks, Irish and Spaniards still pay for the faults of German and French banks

EU citizens disenchanted with Economic and Monetary Union over rising poverty and high unemployment

The EU risks trade relations with China over the Tata hype about steel

Does the West play the Syrian game in Egypt?

International World Summit Award calls for outstanding digital applications with impact on society from 178 UN member states

Basel III rules relaxed: Banks got it all but become more prone to crisis

Will France vote for more or less Europe in the next presidential elections?

“They are trying to make improvements, but of course they are quite slow for my generation”, Vice President of JADE Victor Soto on another Sting Exclusive

EUREKA @ European Business Summit 2014: Innovation across borders – mobilising national R&D funds for transnational innovation in Europe

Who and why want the EU-US trade agreement here and now

Draghi’s ‘quasi’ announcement of a new era of more and cheaper money

The EU Spring Summit set to challenge austerity

Does the world have strong enough institutions to handle risks like Trump and Brexit?

On Grexit: Incompetence just launched the historic Ultimatum that could open “pandora’s box”

Macron’s Presidency: what the young generation’s expectations are

EU continues targeting on Chinese steel imports instead of the revival of its own economy

Industry 4.0: Championing Europe’s fourth industrial revolution

The EU Parliament and the ECB unknowingly or unwillingly fail to protect our financial assets

The 13th round of TTIP negotiations hits a wall of intense protests and growing concerns

Commission challenges Council over EU 2014 budget

Berlin cannot dictate anymore the terms for the enactment of the European Banking Union

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s