The meeting of the leading economic nations is overshadowed by the pandemic. While Chancellor Merkel the participantscallsThe outgoing US president has other plans to overcome national solo efforts in the face of the crisis.
The heads of state and government of the leading economic powers will continue their G20 summit this Sunday and will primarily discuss climate change. Finally, a joint declaration will be adopted, which will focus on the fight against the corona pandemic.
It is expected that the heads of state and government will commit to a fair worldwide distribution of vaccines. In addition, the G20 is likely to set itself the goal of jointly stimulating the global economy and promising poorer countries further debt relief.
When it comes to climate change, the group, which unites 85 percent of global economic power, is unlikely to come across a common denominator, as it has in recent years. The reason for this was and is the withdrawal of US President Donald Trump from the Paris UN climate agreement to reduce greenhouse gases. All other G20 countries stand by the agreement.
Merkel: The fight against Corona needs “global effort”
In a video message to the participants of the G20 summit on Saturday, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) called for even greater efforts in the fight against the corona pandemic. A global challenge can “only be overcome with a global effort,” said Merkel in a pre-recorded video message. As the host, the Saudi Arabian King Salman warned: “We have a duty to face the challenge at this summit together and to send a strong message of hope.”
The summit is also likely to be the last major international appearance by US President Donald Trump. However, he left the meeting early. After less than two hours in the video line of the heads of state and government, he drove from the White House to his golf club in the neighboring state of Virginia, as reported by journalists. In the first hour of the summit, Trump spoke up with news about alleged election fraud in the United States and with news about the health of his son Donald Trump Junior, who, according to media reports, has been infected with the corona virus.
“Can control the virus and its consequences”
In the fight against Corona, Merkel campaigned for support for the international vaccine initiative Covax and for strengthening the World Health Organization (WHO). “If we stand together worldwide, we can control and overcome the virus and its consequences,” she said. “It’s worth making more effort for that.” Merkel’s remarks could also be understood as a point against Trump, who advocates a protectionist policy of “America first” and is hostile to international organizations.
The Chancellor expressly called on the G20 partners to provide financial support for the Covax initiative. In order to contain the corona pandemic, access to vaccination must be possible and affordable for every country. “The funds promised so far are not sufficient for this,” said Merkel. The aim of the initiative is to distribute two billion vaccine doses by the end of next year.
Macron is not only demanding access to vaccine for the rich
There are warnings that poorer countries may not get enough vaccines. French President Emmanuel Macron called for it to be avoided “that only the rich have access”. The purchasing power of the countries should not decide on the distribution.
According to Merkel, so far 5 billion US dollars (around 4.2 billion euros) have been raised for Covax. Germany is contributing over half a billion euros. A total of $ 11 billion will be needed for the initiative by the end of 2021. 150 countries participate in it, including China, but not the USA.
Putin offers access to vaccine “Sputnik-V”
Russian President Vladimir Putin offered the international community wide access to the “Sputnik-V” vaccine developed in Russia. His country supported the decision of the G20 summit to make vaccines available to the entire population of the planet, said the 68-year-old. Critics complain, however, that Russia simply skipped important test phases in August before “Sputnik-V” was approved.
China’s head of state and party leader Xi Jinping wants to strengthen cooperation with other countries in the research, development, production and distribution of vaccines in the fight against the pandemic. China wants to support developing countries by making vaccines accessible and affordable as a “public good”.
Finally, the G20 also want to discuss the fight against climate change on Sunday. They had recently had a particularly difficult time with this topic, not least because Trump withdrew from the Paris UN climate agreement to reduce greenhouse gases.
Because of Corona, the summit is only digital
The summit was supposed to be a major event with thousands of guests in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh. It would have been the first top G20 meeting in the Arab world. Due to Corona, the heads of state and government are conferring via video.
On the sidelines of the summit, the organization Reporters Without Borders criticized the host Saudi Arabia as one of the “most successful jailers for journalists” worldwide. The kingdom restricts the freedom of the press like no other country. 34 journalists are currently in prison for their work there. The French organization also referred to the brutal murder of the anti-government journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018.
Saudi Arabia has been repeatedly criticized for human rights violations. Members of the Bundestag from several parliamentary groups had asked Merkel before the summit to discuss the human rights situation in the Gulf state at the video conference.
Together, the members of the G20 represent more than 85 percent of global economic output and two-thirds of the world’s population. In addition to the EU, the G20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, France, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the USA.