French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the G7 leaders to France on Saturday (August 24), to kick off a summit likely to highlight differences rather than unity between Western powers.
Macron gathered the leaders and their spouses in a lighthouse for a dinner meeting, where they will be treated to Piperade, a spicy Basque dish prepared with green and red Espelette pepper, red tuna, and a selection of local cheeses and cake.
The initial smiles and small talk could not disguise the G7 countries’ opposing approaches to many problems, including the question of protectionism and tax.
Before his arrival, U.S. President Donald Trump repeated a threat to tax French wines in retaliation for a new French levy on digital services, which he says unfairly targets U.S. companies.
Sharp differences on global trade tensions, Britain’s exit from the EU and how to respond to the fires raging in the Amazon rainforest loom over the three-day summit in the Atlantic seaside resort of Biarritz.
Adding to the unpredictable dynamic between the G7 leaders are the new realities facing Brexit-bound Britain: dwindling influence in Europe and growing dependency on the United States.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson will want to strike a balance between not alienating Britain’s European allies and not irritating Trump and possibly jeopardizing future trade ties.
Macron set an agenda for the group – France, Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – that included the defence of democracy, gender equality, education and the environment. He invited Asian, African and Latin American leaders to join them for a global push on these issues.
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