By Sarah Marsh and Andrea Shalal
BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Group of Seven rich democracies will seek to show long-term support for Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression at a summit starting on Sunday, even as the war’s growing impact on the world economy tests his resolve.
The leaders of the United States, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada and Japan will discuss how to tighten the screws on the Kremlin at the three-day summit at Schloss Elmau, a luxury hotel in a Bavarian mountain valley.
But as the war approaches its fifth month, they will be wary of any sanctions that could further darken the global economic outlook. The conflict has already created food and energy shortages that are fueling inflation and world hunger.
Price increases are hitting the global south especially hard, where countries were already battling the COVID-19 pandemic and climate shocks.
Political cartoons about world leaders
Speaking ahead of back-to-back European Union, G7 and NATO summits, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told the German parliament on Wednesday that the task was bigger than sending the message that the West was as united “as never before.”
The summits must also show “that the world’s democracies are united in the fight against Putin’s imperialism, as well as in the fight against hunger, poverty, health crises and climate change,” he said.
If the West does not show solidarity with countries in the global south – many of whom have criticized Western sanctions – Russia and China would benefit, he warned.
Finding a new approach to China that reflects human rights concerns, supply chain issues and the often negative impact of its global investments would play a “very important role” at the summit, a German government official said.
G7 leaders will launch a new infrastructure initiative aimed at offering low- and middle-income countries high-quality and transparent investment, senior US officials said, a clear response to China’s Belt and Road project, which has been criticized for opaque contracts and onerous loans. terms.
Scholz has invited as partner countries the leaders of Senegal -which holds the rotating presidency of the African Union- and Argentina -which holds the presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States-, as well as India, Indonesia and South Africa.
MARSHALL PLAN FOR UKRAINE?
As Ukraine battles Russian forces in the east in a war that has killed thousands and leveled cities, leaders will discuss the need for long-term financial aid to help rebuild the country, the German official said.
“We are talking about considerably larger sums than the current 5 billion euros (of foreign aid) a month,” the official said. Scholz said the country needed a “Marshall Plan,” like the US program that rebuilt Europe after World War II.
On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will address them via video link.
Attempts to hit Russia’s war chest have been limited by Europe’s reliance on Russian energy imports. A sharp cut in deliveries over the last week has the region scrambling to find alternatives. A senior EU official said on Wednesday that a temporary switch back to coal would not derail longer-term climate goals. [L1N2Y90HK]
G7 leaders are set to discuss creating a climate club to better coordinate carbon pricing and other schemes to cut emissions, not least in the hope of avoiding trade wars, the German official said.
They will also discuss the darkening global economic outlook, the official said, the challenge being to rein in government spending without shocking the economy.
Nearly 20,000 police have been deployed to ensure security at the summit, and Scholz wants to avoid a repeat of the G20 summit he hosted as Hamburg mayor in 2018 that was marred by violent protests.
The G7 was founded in 1975 as a forum for wealthier nations to discuss crises like the OPEC oil embargo.
China, the world’s second largest economy, has never been a member of the G7. Russia, admitted as a member of the G8 six years after the fall of the Soviet Union, was suspended in 2014 after annexing the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.
(Reporting by Sarah Marsh in Berlin and Andrea Shalal in Washington; Additional reporting by Andreas Rinke in Berlin, Elizabeth Piper in London, Elaine Lies in Tokyo, John Irish in Paris; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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