G7 summit Q&A: Everything you need to know

What is on the agenda, who is attending and will Brexit issues be sorted?

British prime minister Boris Johnson arrives by boat for a visit to the workshop of Scott Woyka Furniture in Falmouth, ahead of the G7 summit in Cornwall. Photograph: Tom Nicholson/PA Wire

British prime minister Boris Johnson arrives by boat for a visit to the workshop of Scott Woyka Furniture in Falmouth, ahead of the G7 summit in Cornwall. Photograph: Tom Nicholson/PA Wire

 

Boris Johnson will welcome leaders from around the world to the G7 summit in Cornwall on Friday, discussing issues ranging from Covid-19 vaccines and economic recovery to climate change and geopolitics.

The G7 is made up of the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. Representatives from the European Union also attend. This year South Korea, South Africa and Australia will attend parts of the summit. India, also an invited guest, will participate in some of the summit virtually.

Where is the summit happening?

The UK holds the rotating presidency so has responsibility for hosting the summit, which will take place from Friday to Sunday at Carbis Bay in Cornwall.

Why is it important?

It is the first time the leaders have met in almost two years, due to the pandemic and the fight against coronavirus will be one of the main items on the agenda.

Boris Johnson has called on his fellow leaders to commit to vaccinating the world against Covid-19 by the end of next year.

What else is on the agenda?

It is Joe Biden’s first overseas visit as US president and he will use the visit to try to build an alliance of democracies as a counterweight to China, with the White House saying they expect G7 leaders to announce a new initiative to provide financing for physical, digital and health infrastructure in the developing world as an alternative to the “belt and road” measures offered by Beijing.

The leaders are also expected to discuss issues including climate change and getting more children into education around the world.

Who are the leaders attending the event?

Along with Mr Johnson and Mr Biden, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Japan’s Yoshihide Suga, France’s Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Angela Merkel and Italy’s Mario Draghi will represent their countries.

The European Union will be represented by commission president Ursula von der Leyen and council president Charles Michel.

Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison, South Korean president Moon Jae-in and South African president Cyril Ramaphosa will all attend as guests, while India’s Narendra Modi will participate via video link due to the coronavirus crisis.

What are the potential problems facing the Boris Johnson?

The summit is an opportunity for Mr Johnson to push his “Global Britain” agenda, placing the UK at the centre of the world stage.

But the days leading up to the summit have seen a damaging row within the Tory party over his decision to cut aid spending from 0.7 per cent of national income to 0.5 per cent, with predecessor Theresa May warning “the damage it does to our reputation means that it will be far harder for us as a country to argue for change” around the world.

Will Brexit be an issue?

Brexit is always an issue. The ongoing row between the UK and European Union over the Northern Ireland Protocol is likely to loom large.

Unusually for a summit of leaders, Brexit minister Lord Frost will be in attendance and the British prime minister will hold talks with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen as well as the leaders of France, Germany and Italy.

US president Mr Biden also takes an interest in the issue, with the White House warning against anything that would imperil the Belfast Agreement.

Are protests expected?

Extinction Rebellion activists have promised a series of demonstrations to call on the G7 to do more to tackle climate change.

The Kill the Bill movement will also protest against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

So will security be tight?

Very. Some 5,000 extra officers from around the country have been drafted in to support Devon and Cornwall Police.

In total, 6,500 officers and staff will be deployed in the operation, with 1,000 of them effectively living on a ship moored in Falmouth.

What is the agenda for Friday?

Early afternoon – Leaders meet for a socially-distanced family photo on the beach at Carbis Bay.

First discussion session – Building back from Covid-19.

Evening – Leaders and their partners travel to the Eden Project – a series of bio-domes that create a rainforest environment. Here they will attend a reception with Queen Elizabeth, heir Prince Charles, and his son Prince William and his wife Kate.

After the reception, leaders have dinner of locally caught roasted turbot followed by strawberry pavlova.

What is the agenda for Saturday?

Second discussion session – Economic resilience

Third discussion session – Foreign policy

Guest nations and the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres arrive and India joins virtually.

Fourth discussion session – Health. Melinda French Gates and UK chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance will address leaders virtually at the meeting.

Leaders and guests have a barbecue on the beach, including steak and lobster, followed by hot buttered rum and toasted marshmallows.

What is the agenda for Sunday?

Fifth discussion session – Climate and Nature. Naturalist David Attenborough gives a pre-recorded video message.

Sixth discussion session – Open societies.

Leaders are expected to issue a communique.

British prime minister Boris Johnson holds a media conference, followed by other leaders’ conferences. – PA/Reuters