G7 Summit off to a difficult start
In the run-up to the summit of the seven biggest industrial countries taking place in Canada, certain participants have harshly criticised US President Donald Trump's unilateral approach in economic and foreign policy. Trump has rejected the accusations. Is the Western community of values falling apart?
Get Trump to reconsider
Six of the G7 states must do all they can to convince the US president to abandon his anti-free trade stance, The Times urges:
“It is bad enough that Mr Trump is imposing needless costs on global growth by his protectionism. A still more damaging consequence is the signal he gives that the world's most powerful nation considers itself unconstrained by multilateral rules. With six members of the G7 defending a system that the seventh believes is broken, expectations of this summit are low. But the stakes could hardly be higher. Mr Trump's fellow leaders should do their utmost to make him think again.”
A funeral for Western values
The G7 has lost all relevance, Die Presse laments:
“The G7 meeting in Québec, in a romantic luxury hotel above the St-Lawrence River, is a funeral for the multilateral order after decades of cooperation and trust among the leading economic powers. The agreements were often vague, the smiles on the photos looked pained. But they shared the same basic convictions, even in the times of the Iraq war. And even when the G20 became an increasingly important forum due to China's growing power: the G7 continued to be needed as a community of values, in order for the states to position themselves vis-à-vis Beijing and Moscow. But now America's infidelity is driving the former partners into the arms of the autocrats, who have an easy job of it. A defeat for Trump, but also for Western values which are becoming weaker and blurred.”
How much opposition will there be?
In view of the US's policies under Trump the chances of this summit being a success are slim, Diena predicts:
“It is to be feared that because of the disagreements, the US and the other G7 states will focus above all on clarifying their relationship with each other. Consequently there is little chance of a joint declaration. ... The upshot is that the G7 summit could become a sort of indicator for how willing leading Western states are to sacrifice their prosperity and future for the United States. ... One has to ask if the publicly expressed determination to put up opposition to the White House is just belligerent rhetoric or if it's based on true resolve.”
Don't pin all the blame on Trump
Berlin and Washington must avoid drifting even further apart at the G7 summit, warns Lidové noviny:
“Germany in particular is voicing surprise that Trump is putting his election pledges into practice. Now it's complaining about the US ambassador in Berlin. The ambassador, Richard Grenell, is certainly no saint, but Obama's ambassadors weren't neutral either. There should be a discussion in Germany about which issues [the US and Germany] differ on and which they agree on. But there aren't many voices in favour of this approach. Among those few is the head of the Munich Security Conference, Ischinger, who warns against blaming everything on Trump. If the rhetoric of 1914 starts to prevail in Europe - the view that Trump is worse than theocratic Iran and communist China - may God be with us.”