G20 summit: much consensus, few tangible measures

At their video summit on the weekend, the leaders of the major industrialized and emerging countries committed to intensified cooperation in the fight against the Covid crisis and - with the exception of US President Donald Trump - to joint climate protection efforts. However, observers criticise a dearth of concrete concepts for tackling the challenges.

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El País (ES) /

Yes there are problems - and now?

The summit did not make any progress on urgent global issues such as the fair distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine, El País laments:

“Several participants repeatedly stressed the need for the Covid-19 vaccine to be available in all corners of the planet and not just in countries that can afford mass purchases. The WHO must play a key role in the global strategy against the pandemic, as Ursula von der Leyen rightly argued. ... Donald Trump's systematic denigration of the organisation has done nothing to help a battle that should be conducted rationally and globally. But apart from the identification of the problem and standard expressions of good will, this G20 summit has not produced any tangible solutions.”

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

A very subdued summit

Some leaders will have been glad not to have to travel to Riyadh, Deutschlandfunk suspects:

“Shaking hands with King Salman would have led to discussions and unpleasant images in view of the regime's human rights violations. The murder of the journalist Khashoggi is no doubt something the international community would prefer to forget, and this is especially easy at a video summit. At least, thanks to coronavirus, Saudi Arabia was deprived of the chance to present itself as a generous host on the international stage. When Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz invokes the spirit of multilateral cooperation today, one can only hope that next year, under Italy's presidency, many things will change for the better and that the global public will actually feel that a G20 summit has taken place!”

Ria Nowosti (RU) /

The best idea came from the wrong participant

An interesting initiative that could get international travel back on its feet is likely to fail for unsound reasons, Ria Novosti laments:

“The creation of an internationally accepted 'digital voucher' certifying that a tourist, diplomat or business traveler is healthy and can cross borders that are closed due to the virus quarantine-free is a good idea. But its chances of being put into practice are minimal for the time being, even though this measure is needed immediately and would be relatively easy to implement. It will not be introduced above all because it is a proposal put forward by President Xi. And for image reasons, Western leaders can't accept anything that Beijing proposes - especially not if the proposal demonstrates the high level of development of Chinese IT.”

Adevărul (RO) /

The world is becoming more cooperative

In Adevărul, analyst Cristian Unteanu refers to the declaration of the G20 states to work together for fair distribution of affordable coronavirus vaccines and sees this as a good sign for future global cooperation:

“Apart from Donald Trump, the world leaders seem to believe that from now on they will be forced to find formulas for broader and deeper cooperation that transcends the boundaries of outdated political ideologies. ... This is precisely the new ideological line: it proclaims the dawn of the next era of human development, which will be anything but easy and pleasant, as with all adventures that no one could have foreseen. ... The final declaration shows that the leaders are trying to break out of the party ideologies that still dominate the debates in individual countries.”