The G20 summit in Hamburg will show the tensions of world leaders towards world cooperation. Although there is broad consensus in geopolitical issues, trade and climate policies may jeopardize the final result.
The G20 summit in Hamburg at 7-8 of July is supposed to be of great importance about the balance of power between G20 countries. Some of the main topics that are meant to draw the attention are climate change, tax evasion and harmful competition, counter-terrorism, women’s economic empowerment, the management of globalization and the distribution of costs and benefits and finally the spread of digital technology.
The presidency of the G20 by Germany gives to Chancellor Merkel the opportunity to focus on specific matters that are of great importance for her country. Specifically, the adoption of measures to face tax competition will be a top priority for Germany among climate change and the withdrawal of the USA from Paris agreement. Managing globalization and the diffusion of its costs and benefits has always been one of the main goals of the EU and we should expect G20 leaders to pay a great deal of attention in trade and the spread of technology. The latter is considered to be one of the priorities of the German Chancellor. Terrorism and immigration will also be at the center of interest and we should expect a great deal of convergence of views in this matter.
One question that needs to be answered is what is going to be the balance of power among the G20 leaders.
The rise of Macron in France, Brexit and the upcoming German elections have given a new momentum to the EU. Though, we cannot expect a lot of initiatives from Junker and Tusk, who will represent the EU, as their power is rather limited. Though, Chancellor Merkel, as hostess of the summit will have an advantageous position and will speak not only for Germany but for the EU as well. The upcoming German election may also give her incentives to adopt a more aggressive rhetoric mainly against Trump in what concerns the latter’s accusations against Germany’s position in trade and the withdrawal of the USA from Paris summit. Given this, we should expect that climate change and a possible arrangement will be the focus of the summit.
In their efforts, the EU leaders will probably find a useful and powerful ally in Japan. Specifically, the EU and Japan are expected on Thursday to announce plans for a major new free trade agreement. This deal concerns lower barriers to exports of cars flowing in both directions, as well as the decrease of Japanese barriers to imports of trains and agricultural products, including cheese and chocolate. This agreement will come after Trump ended an effort for the United State to reach a trade agreement with Japan and other Asian countries. Consequently, we should expect that Japan would enhance the EU’s positions not only in trade but also in climate politics and perhaps other fields.
From the USA side, media focus on the meeting between Trump and Putin, although there is not until now a clear agenda about the matters that will be discussed, General MacMaster has confirmed that is going to be a meeting between the two powerful men. Specifically, the General has stated that “it’s really going to be whatever the President wants to talk about.”
Consequently, we should expect that the war in Syria, terrorism and the aggressive behavior of North Korea will probably be among the main topics of discussion. In both cases, General MacMaster has argued that there is the place for cooperation between the USA and Russia.
To sum up, in the areas of terrorism and the war in Syria we can expect a convergence of interests and of views, though the situation is much different in what concerns trade and environmental issues. In the latter case, Trump will probably face EU leaders’ strong opposition and perhaps the opposition of other countries like India and China, which agreed to keep the Paris agreement. As both matters are considered to be of high importance for the majority of G20, a strong opposition from the side of the US, which is highly likely, could end the summit in a fiasco.