G20, why this summit is important

G20, why this summit is important

Simona Manna
First encounters and expectations, especially on climate change, at the summit that brings together in Hamburg the leaders of the world's foremost economic powers

Whatever its outcome, the G20 due to be held in Hamburg on July 7-8 is of itself an important summit, for few but key reasons.


Firstly, this is the first summit following Donald Trump’s announcement that he will 'tear up' the Paris Agreement on climate change. The U.S. President had already indicated he would reconsider America’s position during the G7 energy summit held in Rome on April 9-10, 2017, a summit that ended without a joint statement due to the very fact that the United States had still not outlined its policies on climate change. The disagreement also resurfaced at the G7 summit in Taormina and was then confirmed a few days later with the announcement of America’s dramatic exit from the Paris accord. President Trump will not find a friendly atmosphere in Hamburg, where his host Angela Merkel has already made her position clear, stating that the Paris Agreement is 'irreversible' and expressing her hope, through her diplomatic spokesmen, that the other 19 countries should declare their unwavering support for the deal. Nevertheless, Trump may actually find some allies in Hamburg on this front: Saudi Arabia, which has been historically reluctant to commit to climate change, has indicated that it is unlikely to support the agreement, while Russia, Turkey and Indonesia are also sending mixed signals about their willingness to support the Paris deal.


Hamburg will also be the stage for the first meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. This is going to be an important face-to-face meeting - talking to journalists, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov stated: "This is the first meeting, the first time the two presidents will get acquainted - this is the main thing about it." - not only for the historic relations between the United states and Russia, but also in light of the recent Russiagate scandal, which president Trump mentioned once again during his visit to Poland where he participated in the “Three Seas Summit”. Trump’s words do not pave the way for a relaxed encounter, given that the American tycoon has stated that Russia “may have interfered” in the 2016 US Presidential elections.


French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping will also be meeting for the first time at the summit. Xi Jinping is the only global leader whom Macron still hasn’t had the opportunity to meet. The Chinese leader is already in Europe, and is currently on a state visit to Germany, prior to the G20 summit. The visit is being treated as an opportunity to consolidate ties between Berlin and Beijing, which currently seem to be going though a period of intensive exchanges and contacts.