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

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Making money from meeting the SDGs? An overarching approach to sustainable development.

“BEUC cautions against TTIP that would seek to align EU and US chemicals management frameworks”

China Unlimited and the Chinese dream

Google strongly rejects EU antitrust charges and now gets ready for the worst to come

A Sting Exclusive: “The challenge of Society’s digital transformation”, Spanish Minister of Spain for Industry, Energy and Tourism José Manuel Soria live from European Business Summit 2015

Brexit: No deal without marginalizing the hard Tory Eurosceptic MPs

Merkel: Nationalism and egoism must never have a chance again in Europe

OECD joins with Argentina to fight financial crime

The refugee crisis as a young Nigerian doctor sees it

3 charts to help you understand the American shale boom

UK: Crawley group wins European Citizens’ Prize

Rising landmine blast toll in Afghanistan highlights long-term care needs of survivors

EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia

Trump’s MAGA policy remains unchanged as EU warns to impose additional retaliation tariffs on US products

Have Europe’s Ukrainian wounds begun to heal?

Brexit talks stalled at launch; issues with European Court’s authority in Britain

What happens when the Eurogroup decides to help Greece

Berlin wants to break South’s politico-economic standing

VW diesel scandal and climate change: can increased independent car checks lead to cleaner mobility?

At last Britain considers a super-soft Brexit

Libya: ‘Substantial civilian casualties’ in Derna, UN humanitarian chief ‘deeply concerned’

Sanctions on Russia to be the biggest unity test at this European Council

Europe and UN form bulwark against ‘might makes right’ worldview, EU foreign affairs chief tells Security Council

A machine din

Hostages to a rampant banking system

UN chief welcomes re-opening of key Gaza border crossing

Report on EU trade defence – effective protection against unfair trade

New rules to help consumers join forces to seek compensation

Yemen: Major UN aid boost for ‘up to 14 million’ as country risks becoming a land of ‘living ghosts’

Quality Education on the table at the European Parliament

The Commission tries to stop the ‘party’ with the structural funds

UN launches drive to highlight environmental cost of staying fashionable

INTERVIEW: ‘Defend the people, not the States’, says outgoing UN human rights chief

The UK to split if May’s hard or no-deal Brexit is pursued

UN General Assembly President defends ‘landmark’ migration compact

The Juncker Plan at work: bringing investment back on track in Europe

Local innovation, international impact: SMEs and the ITU Telecom World Awards

COP24: Huge untapped potential in greener construction, says UN environment agency

Three myths keeping government procurement stuck in the past

Sahel States need international support ‘now more than ever’– UN peacekeeping chief

Why strive for Industry 4.0

This project in India helps people and tigers co-exist peacefully

UNICEF warns of ‘lost generation’ of Rohingya youth, one year after Myanmar exodus

Algeria must stop arbitrary expulsion of West African migrants in desert: UN migration rights expert

Commission proposes fishing opportunities in the Atlantic and North Sea for 2019

Rule of Law: The Commission opens a debate to strengthen the rule of law in the EU

Impacting society with digital ingenuity – World Summit Award proclaiming the top 8 worldwide

Berlin favours economic and social disintegration in certain Eurozone countries

Making the most of the Sustainable Development Goal 3: its overlooked role in medical education

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘Mandatory food labelling Non-Vegetarian / Vegetarian / Vegan’ initiative’

Oh, well, you are wrong, Google responds to the European Commission

COP21 Breaking News_05 December: Children Will Bear the Brunt of Climate Change: UNICEF

3 ways to nurture collaboration between universities and industry

Modern farming is harming the planet. Tech-driven permaculture could heal it

European Business Summit 2013: Where Business and Politics shape the future

EU Summit/Migration: Parliament calls for joint solutions based on solidarity

China is building 8 new airports a year

EU Budget: InvestEU Programme to support jobs, growth and innovation in Europe

‘Power is not given, power is taken’, UN chief tells women activists, urging push-back against status quo

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s