FROM THE ENCOUNTER TO SCHLOSS ELMAU. The leaders of the G7 are seated around a round table for the business lunch, Boris Johnson asks if it is allowed to take off his jacket: “This is how we show our muscles to Putin.” General laughter and it is the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, the quickest in grabbing the British assist and making fun of it: maybe we go horseback riding shirtless. As in the famous image of a few years when Putin was being filmed in a macho version.
A few hours pass and the leaders are lined up side by side, jacket and shirt without a tie (the only woman, Angela Merkel left the scene, is Ursula von der Leyen). In the background the Bavarian Alps. You don’t need to tame a bare-chested horse to project the impression of strength and compactness. This lies in the message that the Great Ones launch when speaking from the podium to two recipients: to today’s enemy, Vladimir Putin, and to tomorrow’s rival, Xi Jinping, trusting that he will remain pigeon-holed in this definition and avoid Taiwanese war temptations. Xi’s name is not included in the statements, while Putin’s has always echoed ever since Biden in the morning commenting on the missiles on Kiev speaks of “another barbaric gesture”.
One after the other speak the host Olaf Scholz, the director of the battle plan Joe Biden, and via Ursula von der Leyen, Charles Michel, the Japanese premier Kishida, Trudeau and Mario Draghi. “When democracies unite – gloats Biden – they are unbeatable.”
In the scenario of Elmau Castle, under a hot sun and twenty kilometers away from an armored Garmish for a noisier than numerous protest demonstration, the leaders strengthen the strategy on Ukraine – “financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support as long as needed. », Reads the draft conclusions of the summit – waiting to hear what Zelensky will ask for this morning. Foreign Minister Kuleba provided an appetizer, asking for further sanctions from the G7, in addition to the tightening on the import of gold on which the EU hesitates. Washington, on the other hand, will officially launch it tomorrow. It will cost, Blinken said, $ 19 billion to Moscow.
Then the leaders challenge the Chinese Silk Road with a mega investment plan (Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment) worth 600 billion dollars in five years that will go to support infrastructure, sustainable development, health projects, to bridge the digital divide and to combine environment and energy, in middle and low income countries. From Africa to Latin America, passing through Asia Pacific. The idea was announced and started up last year at the G7 in Cornwall, some projects have been started, in Senegal or South Africa, for example, but yesterday the official imprimatur arrived. Biden is the political engine, America will allocate 200 billion, Europe with 300 billion detaches the largest check. Draghi is concise and effective when he explains that the EU and the US have the record of vaccines delivered to poor countries, they are first in terms of detachment. But now “we must ensure that these nations can produce them on their own territory.”
The 600 billion will serve as a driving force to generate wealth and development and will also involve the private sector. For the US president it is the fulfillment of his dual vision, democracies versus autocracies. He says it with a gesture mixed between pride for having completed the plan, and the challenge to Moscow and Beijing: “When democracies unite and show what they can do, they can win every competition.” The challenge is played on technologies and data sharing, so the US leader has the opportunity to mention cybersecurity and 5G, explaining that the global project of democracies aims to “reinforce the use of secure technologies so that our data on line cannot be exploited by the autocrats to consolidate power and repress their peoples ”.
In a briefing with reporters a few hours earlier, a White House official had denounced the coercive practices of the Chinese Silk Road in which the countries benefiting from aid end up trapped in the debt trap. The G7 thinks on the opposite ground. However, it is not charity, explains Biden, that drives the greats, but “economic and security” reasons. A White House source urged on this issue acknowledged that China is ahead in its plan, but “we are in time to catch up, Biden wasted no time.” The project – he acknowledged – will also include Ukraine, on which the G7 has found unity. It was not obvious, given the differences on the approach to have with Putin. But already in the morning Biden and Scholz, in the bilateral that opened the Bavarian works, had agreed on continuing their support to Kiev by sending weapons; and Macron and Johnson reiterated that “this is not the time to negotiate.” For Blinken, Putin failed because he did not achieve strategic goals. He now speaks to Zelensky.