G20 summit: a success or a flop?

The G20 summit in New Delhi has ended with a hard-won compromise. The leaders emphasised that the territorial integrity of states must be respected, but without explicitly condemning Russia's war against Ukraine. With the accession of the African Union (AU), the Global South gained more clout. Commentators discuss whether the global balance of power is changing fundamentally.

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Népszava (HU) /

The world is becoming multipolar

Népszava is worried by the fact that Russia's war on Ukraine was not explicitly condemned in the summit's final declaration:

“The question rightly arises as to why the US and the EU were willing to sign such a bland declaration. First and foremost it is because India has become extraordinarily important for Brussels and even more so for Washington. ... So the G20 meeting did not end with a victory for the democratic world but showed once again that the world is undergoing a major transformation. The voices of the emerging countries are becoming louder and louder. ... The world is becoming multipolar, and Washington is losing its hegemony. The only question is whether global democracy will lose out in the long run.”

Karar (TR) /

Peace not a priority

New Delhi has produced only fruitless compromises, Karar grumbles:

“After intense efforts at the G20 summit, a final declaration that is supposed to please everyone was drafted, but no will to end the war was expressed. In fact, none of the leaders attending the summit had such a goal. The world is not as concerned as one might think about this devastating war in which 500,000 soldiers have been killed or wounded on the Russian and Ukrainian sides. The final declaration, which was the result of intense negotiations, was a compromise text that met the expectations of both Russia and the West.”

El País (ES) /

The South finally getting attention and recognition

El País celebrates the final text:

“The content of the agreement demonstrates political commitment to the demands of the Global South. It expresses the intention to strengthen multilateral development banks and to address cases of unsustainable debt. [The summit] also gave the green light for the accession of the African Union. ... Nevertheless, caution and scepticism are called for considering the distance between the declarations and reality. ... But it goes in the right direction, because it is imperative to narrow the gap between North and South and because the African continent needs to have more say internationally. ... A flop in New Delhi would have been a major blow. In these times of polarisation, it is no small thing that this was avoided.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Unity more important than solidarity

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung sees a shift:

“The West was prepared to pay a price in order to save the group, and that price was that Russia's war on Ukraine was not directly condemned in the final declaration. ... In the real world, the finely balanced formulations of such documents usually have little or no consequence. This also applies to Western support for Ukraine, which in principle (so far) has not been questioned. But in New Delhi a shift in priorities has become visible. Cooperation with the emerging countries was more important to America and Europe than making another gesture of solidarity with Kyiv.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Absences gave Biden more space

From a strategic point of view the US is the winner of the summit, explains La Repubblica:

“The absence of Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin was supposed to diminish the group's importance. In effect, however, their absence has reduced their role and given Biden more space. He can resume the path of multilateral construction on the ruins of the Second World War initiated between 1944 and 1945, with the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank and all that followed. For some years now, this construction and its forerunner have suffered. America appeared to be in decline in comparison with China. ... Together with the economic developments of recent months, the G20 seems to be proving the opposite.”