The latest G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily, has brutally highlighted the limitations of the organization. With the United States out of kilter with the rest of the group, members struggled to find common ground. While the impact of the Manchester bombing quickly led to an agreement on the joint fight against terrorism, there were problems with the final communiqué. The sherpas, or representatives of the heads of state and government attending the summit, were forced to fine-tune the document until the last minute, because the United States had raised so many objections.
The order in which the summit resolutions are listed is both revealing and indicative of the differences. Foreign policy is addressed first and in the greatest detail, followed by the section on world trade. The issue of climate is the shortest and is addressed last, after a mention of Africa and between remarks on food safety and innovation.
This is a precis of the main points of the final communique.
We strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms. The brutal attack in Manchester demonstrates that we must now redouble our efforts to transform our shared convictions into action. Our interior ministers should tackle this as quickly as possible. To begin with, we will fight the abuse of the internet by terrorists. The G7 calls on internet providers and operators of social media to take more consistent action against terrorist content. We encourage companies to prioritize the development of new technologies to improve the automatic detection of violent content. All this must go hand in hand with respect for freedom of expression.
The exchange of information on the movements of the “foreign fighters” must be improved. We want to intensify our efforts to eliminate sources of funding for terrorism.
Trade and investment that are free, fair and mutually beneficial are the key conditions for growth and job creation. We therefore reaffirm our commitment to keep our markets open and fight protectionism, as well as all unfair trading practices. We confirm that trade has always benefited everyone, which is why we agree to reduce excessive imbalances. We reaffirm that we will work together to improve the functioning of the multilateral trading system of the World Trade Organization.
The United States is in the process of rethinking its policy on climate change and the Paris climate agreement and is therefore not in a position to agree on a common position. The heads of state and government of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK, as well as the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission, reaffirm their strong will to quickly implement the Paris Agreement on climate protection, as was already decided during the G7 summit in Ise-Shima.
Syria: No effort should be spared to bring the war to an end. We are determined to strengthen our commitment to fighting international terrorism, especially against IS and Al Qaida. We cannot fight terrorism without a political solution.
Libya: We must support the political dialogue on stabilization and the country’s national reconciliation. We warn against military clashes and support the UN mission, as well as the government of national unity, in its fight against terrorism and in coping with large numbers of refugees.
Ukraine: Only a full implementation of the Minsk Agreement can lead to a solution of the Ukraine conflict. We emphasize Russia’s responsibility for the conflict. We repeat our condemnation of the illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and support the sovereignty of Ukraine. Sanctions can be lifted if Russia complies with the resolutions. We are definitely prepared to impose additional punitive measures should this become necessary.
North Korea: We reaffirm our commitment to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and to disarmament. North Korea, which we see as a top priority on the international agenda, must immediately and completely abide by all UN resolutions and stop all nuclear tests. We strongly condemn them and are prepared to take appropriate measures against them.
While respecting human rights for all refugees and migrants, we reaffirm the sovereign right of all nations to control their borders and to pursue a policy of national interests based on the preservation of national security.
Regina Krieger is Handelsblatt’s Italy correspondent, covering a wide variety of topics, including business, politics, culture, the Vatican, architecture and soccer. To contact the author: email@example.com