G20: ego catwalk or beacon of hope?
Officially, a sustainable food future and an inclusive future of work are on the agenda at the G20 summit. But current affairs like the reignited Ukraine conflict, the trade dispute between the US and China, and the Khashoggi case are likely to dominate the agenda in Buenos Aires. Europe's commentators ask what the G20 can do to address all these issues.
Just a big stage for big egos
The Süddeutsche Zeitung has no great expectations for the summit:
“What's lacking is constructive concepts and the will to compromise. Summit meetings like the one in Buenos Aires are seen as a chance to engage in a quick round of talks. Speed dating among the world's key figures. Yes, there is discussion, but the agenda is secondary: what's important is that it provides a stage for the egos present. Buenos Aires will be full of pogo dancing between Trump and Xi, Trump and Putin, and protocolary contortions to avoid meetings between Erdoğan and bin Salman. That's too little to keep up an appearance of good politics.”
EU has little say
Dagens Nyheter is also worried:
“There's no reason for anyone to hope that the summit will produce more than empty gestures. ... China has no intentions of scrapping its state capitalist, increasingly repressive model. On the contrary, with the rapid growth of the past four decades it has upgraded its military and cast doubts on the influence of the US in Asia and elsewhere. The EU has justified concerns regarding China's economic practices and would like to cooperate with the US. Instead, however, it must worry about the US's new manners and whether Trump will reach a trade settlement with China that leaves other players out of the picture.”
G20 more important than ever
The G20 summits provide a unique opportunity to solve transregional problems, The Times counters:
“The G20's role has never seemed more vital. It is the only global gathering other than the UN General Assembly that brings together the world's leading powers. ... While bilateral deal-making is important, it can never be a guarantor of global stability. If the world is to emerge from this period of geopolitical volatility a new consensus on the primacy of robust global rules needs to be established. The G20 remains the best hope for delivering that, even if for the time being it seems that hope will continue to go unfulfilled.”
Trump's opponents failed to consider Ukraine
After some hesitancy Trump has cancelled his bilateral meeting with Putin on the fringes of the summit. That's bad news for Ukraine, writes political scientist Volodimir Volya in Korrespondent:
“Thanks to President Trump's domestic opponents there will be no meeting. If only they'd thought just a little about Ukraine. ... But their main concern was how to hit out at Trump yet again. President Petro Poroshenko praised Trump for cancelling the meeting with Putin. He wrote on Twitter: 'This is how great leaders act!' But how does that make the leaders of Germany, Turkey and other states who have stated their willingness to talk with the Russian president about the Kerch Strait and the return of the Ukrainian sailors look?”