Against the backdrop of the Bavarian Alps, the G7 want to send a strong signal against Putin’s war in Ukraine. Even before the top meeting begins, the US President announced a new punitive measure.

The seven leading democratic economic powers oppose Russian President Vladimir Putin as a closed community.

“We are united by our view of the world, we are also united by our belief in democracy and the rule of law,” emphasized Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday after the first consultations at the G7 summit in Elmau, Bavaria. All G7 countries are concerned about the current crises, said the SPD politician. But he was optimistic: “The G7 are a good community for developing common answers to the challenges of our time.” It is important to act decisively and in a united manner.

The summit of the seven leading democratic industrialized countries at Schloss Elmau began on Sunday afternoon and lasts until Tuesday. In addition to Germany and the USA, the G7 also includes Canada, Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan. Biden is in Germany for the first time since taking office in January 2021.

It wasn’t long ago that things were very different in the Group of Seven – when then-US President Donald Trump threatened to shake the community. At the latest, however, the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine welded them together. The G7 is currently one of the few multilateral forums that remains capable of acting despite the war. It is much more difficult for the G20, for example. At the meeting of the most important industrialized and emerging countries in November, there is a risk of a blockade due to Russian participation.

Scholz: Are still giving Putin a headache

Scholz not only emphasized the unity of the G7, but also that of the European Union and NATO. All three acted decisively from the start when it came to supporting Ukraine. “It’s safe to say that Putin didn’t expect it and it’s still giving him a headache.”

After a meeting before the big rounds, Scholz and US President Joe Biden once again vowed to cooperate closely against Putin. “Germany and the United States will always act together when it comes to security issues in Ukraine,” said Scholz. Biden underlined that the unity was in no small part also due to Scholz. “You did an incredible job,” he said.

G7 launch global infrastructure initiative

In addition to Ukraine, future dealings with China were the focus of the first day of the summit. The G7 round wants to compete with Beijing with a global infrastructure initiative. According to Biden, she formally launched a “Partnership for Global Infrastructure”. The project announced in 2021 is intended to be an alternative to the “New Silk Road” project launched by China in 2013, with which the authoritarian country is opening up new trade routes to Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia.

“Together we want to mobilize almost $600 billion through the G7 by 2027,” said Biden. The US would mobilize $200 billion in public and private capital for this partnership over the next five years. The executive director of Greenpeace Germany, Martin Kaiser, criticized: “The sum of 600 billion euros by 2027 has jumped far too short.” The need for investments in renewable energies alone in the G7 countries will be well over 1,000 billion euros annually.

Food crisis and high energy prices at G7 talks

Concrete financial commitments from the group of the G7 were expected in the fight against the famine, which is particularly prevalent in East Africa and is getting worse given the rising grain prices in the course of the war. The issue is likely to come up on Monday.

The high energy prices also play a role in Elmau. Among other things, it is about an international price cap for Russian oil. The group is well on the way to finding an agreement here, according to German government circles. From the point of view of the EU, not all details have been clarified yet. The aim of a price cap is that Russia no longer benefits from price increases on the energy market and can thus finance its war of aggression against Ukraine. At the same time, further jumps in oil prices should be prevented.

The G7 also want to address falling growth rates, rising inflation, scarcity of raw materials and disruptions to supply chains. These are “none of the small challenges,” said Scholz. “But I am very, very, very confident that we will be able to send a very clear signal of unity and decisive action from this summit.”

Biden: G7 want import ban on Russian gold

According to Biden, the G7 also want to announce an import ban on Russian gold. This would deprive Russia of tens of billions of dollars from this important export commodity, the US President said on Twitter. A senior US official said it would further isolate Russia from the global economy. Gold is Russia’s second most important export after energy. The European Union is expected to join the plans, indicated EU Council President Charles Michel.

Anti-G7 demonstration in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Hundreds of critics protested against the G7 meeting in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Sunday. The central topics included the climate crisis and the fear of an escalation of the Ukraine war. The police estimated the number of participants at around 800 to 900, but the organizers spoke of 2000. The rally was accompanied by a massive contingent of security forces, but was largely peaceful. A total of 18,000 police officers are on duty in the region for the summit.