July 28, 2021

A G7 in Cornwall worth a test for Boris Johnson

Two days at Carbis Bay, from Friday 11 to Sunday 13 June, in a spa hotel with a breathtaking view of a golden sand beach, protected from intruders by 5,000 police officers, the MI5 intelligence service and the HMS aircraft carrier Prince-of-Wales crossing off. On the menu, lots of fish and some local cheeses, and even marshmallow skewers for the more adventurous, during a barbecue scheduled for Saturday evening … Boris Johnson chose the beauty of Cornwall, in the far west of England , to organize this G7 of which it is the host and which is of historical importance in more than one respect.

First face-to-face meeting of the most powerful democracies in the world since the start of the pandemic, first tour of Europe for Joe Biden, first major international event for the post-Brexit United Kingdom: the stakes are numerous and considerable. The American, Canadian, Japanese, British, French, German and Italian leaders must prove that they are finally ready to massively help poor countries to vaccinate their populations, to act decisively against the climatic danger, and to convince that their “club of the 7 ”still has meaning in the face of the assertion of the Chinese superpower, when it only generates 40% of the world’s economic wealth.

The test is twofold for Boris Johnson: he must make the G7 a success and seize the opportunity to show that the post-divorce “Global Britain” project with the European Union (EU) goes beyond a hollow slogan worn for years by brexiters. For this “Top of the vaccine”, as the Elysee describes it, the British Prime Minister made a promise: “Vaccinate the whole world by the end of 2022”. “It will be a question of proposing a real plan to achieve this”, warned ex-Labor Prime Minister Gordon Brown who, along with a series of other leaders (ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair or ex-New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark) jointly called on the G7 to do finally, proof of generosity and to better share its vaccines with the rest of the world, while less than 2% of Africans are vaccinated (against now more than half of British adults). “The G7 can finally stop this pandemic. There is an urgent need not only to immediately share excess doses, but also to guarantee sufficient funds to stimulate local vaccine production ”, Brown added at a conference hosted by the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford.

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