by Tian Dongdong, Ying Qiang, Chen Chen
BIARRITZ, France, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) — As French President Emmanuel Macron hosts his Group of Seven (G7) counterparts in France’s luxurious seaside resort Biarritz to discuss rising global inequality, he may find his high expectation can not be met as the group’s unity, pride and influence are going downhill.
This is because the 44-year-old group, which used to be the main provider of global leadership, is being embattled on various fronts.
For starters, with his “America First” policy, U.S. President Donald Trump has turned the G7 into a “G6+1” game, which was evident in last year’s Quebec summit in Canada.
Analysts say that no doubt Trump will continue to pursue the “America First” policy at Macron’s party, and may again ruin the summit more dramatically like an elephant in a porcelain store.
Secondly, all members of G7 have been mired in some sort of problems — be it political, partisan, economic, societal or diplomatic. As a result, the “top student club” is drastically losing its charm, legitimacy and even capability of providing global leadership.
Despite Macron’s high hopes for this year’s summit, discord would be inevitable as the United States and the “G6” have disagreed on almost everything from trade to security.
Threatening Germany with car tariffs, Trump also vowed he will tax French wines if Paris levies digital tax on big U.S. technology companies; casting Canada as a trade villain who “robs U.S. blindly,” he also sniffed at European integration by encouraging Brexit with a “great trade deal” with London; withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty among many others, he even revealed a will to pull out some U.S. forces in Germany unless Berlin lifts defense spending to the 2-percent GDP threshold.
In the eyes of Remi Bourgeot, an economist and an associate fellow at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, “Trump does not really care much about G7. He is very much defiant to all international bodies in general.”
Thirdly, the G7 is facing daunting geo-socioeconomic challenges. Yellow Vest movement rocks France. Italy is in the middle of a political reshuffle. While Germany’s slowing economic growth arouses fears of the whole EU slipping into a recession, a hard Brexit would make them worse. Moreover, Japan is at loggerheads with South Korea.
Fourthly, with the rise of emerging economies and developing countries, the economic capability of the G7 is on the wane. “Time to scrap the G7,” reads an opinion of Germany’s Deutsche Welle published after last year’s G7 summit.
All in all, it would be quite doubtful if this year’s G7 could provide any collective leadership or concrete initiative to make the planet better. It is time for the group to seriously deal with the looming breakup threat it faces.
(Xinhua reporters Liu Fang, Xu Yongchun in Paris also contributed to this report.)