G7 in Action
During this G7, the following goals were set: :
- Vaccinate at least 60% of the world’s population by next year to achieve herd immunity;
- To share 1 billion doses of vaccine, half of which by the end of the year. France is also doubling its commitments, this represents 60 million doses ;
- Redouble our efforts for the climate with a commitment of 100 billion euros per year.
G7 in action.pic.twitter.com/18PG8L6dxT
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) June 15, 2021
Preliminary statements by the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, at the press conference following the G7 (June 13, 2021)
[Check against delivery]
Ladies and gentlemen,
now that Prime Minister Johnson’s conference has come to an end, it is my job to present from France’s point of view the main conclusions of this Carbis Bay G7. Before anything else, I want to thank Prime Minister Johnson for organizing this G7 and, I think, for the results we obtained – and I’ll come back to them in a moment. I also want to thank Britain and the inhabitants of Cornwall for their hospitality; I know all the difficulties we can create when we travel during these periods, and so I thank them for their patience. I also want to thank Her Majesty The Queen and The Royal Family for the thoughtfulness they showed when they welcomed us the day before yesterday, coming to meet all the G7 members.
For me, there were three central issues in this G7 summit. The first was in the short term to get us to respond and, above all, take action on global vaccination, in line with the solidarity we began to show as early as April 2020. The second objective was to establish a common method and get results with this effective multilateralism which we believe in and have fought for over the past four years, and in particular follow the efforts begun in Biarritz and at subsequent summits. The third objective was to define a working method with President Biden and all the partners around the table.
As regards the first immediate short-term issue, I think I can say we’re on track to meet this ambition and at any rate we’ll be extremely vigilant in ensuring that the commitments made today are properly carried out. But I think I can say that this G7 is going to make it possible for there to be more vaccines more quickly on the ground. To do this, we aren’t starting from scratch. As you know, back in April 2020 we launched an ambitious agenda, first by building it with the African Union and several partners, then by endorsing it at the G20 back in April 2020, the ACTA agenda, which made it possible, precisely, to engage the international community in solidarity mechanisms. They allowed us to get things under way. And at our virtual meeting a few months ago, held in the G7 format, we also made very concrete commitments and I was able to follow up on these issues, particularly on the financial level, during the summit with our African partners in Paris on 18 May 2021, then on my visit to South Africa. So today’s G7 is speeding things up on several points. First, the sharing of doses. In February, I set the goal of sharing 13 million doses to vaccinate frontline workers, especially healthcare workers. We were able to do this. A few days ago, I told you that, in our view, the concrete objective we had to set ourselves was a target of 40% of the population vaccinated by the end of the year and 60% by next spring, first and foremost for Africa but obviously also for the Caribbean, Latin America, the Indo-Pacific and the whole world. Through this G7 we’ve pledged to endorse this same objective and vaccinate at least 60% of the world’s population by the end of next year, with this interim target of 40% by the end of the year. To this end, the G7 has pledged to share a billion extra doses, half of them by the end of the year. In that framework, France has doubled its own commitments by moving from 30 to 60 million shared doses by the end of the year. In very concrete terms, the African Union will receive five million doses by the end of the summer. We also got the G7 collectively to call on the private sector to support us on the model of what was done during the H5N1 influenza, by sharing 10% of doses produced. This was a request I made a few weeks ago and repeated a few days ago, and it was endorsed by all the G7 members. The key thing now is for all the G7 members to follow these commitments scrupulously. If they are honoured, we shall be able to get results and, precisely, achieve our goals.
VACCINE PRICES AND PRODUCTION
The second important element of this G7 concerns prices. This is what I was able to talk about during my visit to South Africa and also recall a few days ago. We all agreed on the need for greater transparency to ensure more fairness in what is asked of developing countries, i.e. we asked the whole pharmaceutical industry to be transparent about the prices of vaccines issued to these solidarity mechanisms. This transparent reference price is also the one which can be used by recipient countries in their purchases.
The third important element many of our partners expected is the commitment on vaccine production capacity. Indeed, in the very short term, we have to donate vaccines. This is the commitment we got with the extra billion, but right now we’ve also got to be able to produce more in all the low- and middle-income countries in order to build autonomy. It may be important for this crisis, if there are successive booster jabs. It’s important for all the other pandemics, because we need to be able to vaccinate constantly and we know that every continent today is still exposed to major pandemics beyond COVID, and it’s important to build resilience against crises which are bound to return. A simple figure I recalled in South Africa suffices to clarify this need. Africa accounts for 20% of the world’s vaccination needs. It accounts for 1% of production capacity, so we have got to help each continent scale up its capacity. For this, the first commitment made by the G7 members, which is the most pivotal in the short term, is to lift all restrictions on exports.
Indeed, countries important for producing [vaccines] for middle-income or the poorest areas, for example India, have had their production blocked over the past few months precisely because of certain export freezes. So we made a collective commitment – which is going to change many things, particularly for the Serum Institute of India – to lift all its export restrictions.
We then collectively set the objective that under no circumstances would intellectual property block technology transfers which allow production in all regions of the world. And to this end, in a very concrete way, we endorsed the acceleration of work done by the World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization to get an agreement on the issue of patents and intellectual property, which must not be an obstacle to universal access. This very much puts into practice the commitment we made just over a year ago precisely to make the vaccine a global public good.
In this respect, I really want to pay tribute to the leadership of South Africa and India, who made a strong proposal which several of us reworked together, and to the support of the United States of America in achieving it, and on this point we worked in collaboration with the United States of America and our [other] colleagues, so we could get this outcome. The coming discussions in the next few weeks at the WTO are absolutely essential in this respect and we’ll follow them with the utmost vigilance. It was an emergency and I think this reaction is salutary; it must now be followed by all actions in accordance with these commitments. We also pledged to prepare for future pandemics. I discussed this at length, in particular with President Biden: reforming the World Health Organization in particular to improve early-warning systems by investing massively in research and health systems. Here too, in our economies as well as our partners’, be they in the Indo-Pacific region or Africa, and by learning all the lessons from what didn’t work in this pandemic, particularly in the early stages, so that we don’t find ourselves in situations again where we aren’t collectively prepared. And I think this issue will permeate our regional and national action plans in the coming weeks and months. That’s the first part of what I wanted to say, which makes this G7 a very concrete element of the response to the pandemic and its urgency, and of the policy of solidarity we’ve got to have.
The second challenge, as I was telling you, is about getting results for this effective multilateralism. First of all, for the past four years we Europeans, but also with our Canadian and Japanese partners around the G7 table, have broadly done everything to ensure that the world order we believe in – i.e. cooperation between developed economies – can continue working for our economies, but also and above all to defend our values, the equilibrium of our open, liberal democracy and a market economy with its balances as defined over decades. Several times you’ve legitimately questioned this group’s effectiveness, because the disagreements around the table have prevented our commitments from being furthered as swiftly [as desired], and the issue of its effectiveness was questioned, to put it diplomatically. I think this G7 has provided an opportunity to show we’ve returned to a language more familiar to us, where developed economies – whatever disagreements they may have on regional issues, on bilateral relations, on issues that may sometimes give rise to different interpretations or actions – nevertheless share what is essential and have the will to coordinate to defend their values, the reform of their system and their ability to act together in the face of today’s major challenges. And so on this aspect I think it’s a key point, because first and foremost it’s about this group’s credibility.
Secondly, it’s about the credibility of our democratic societies. I had the opportunity to mention this to all the journalists present at the press conference I held in Paris a few days ago, but we also discussed it at length around the table at this G7, in a very striking way in my view. We talked constantly about our collective ability to defend the model of liberal, open democracies. And that model is at risk. It’s at risk because it’s facing a challenge of effectiveness, effectiveness for our own compatriots. Are these democracies still managing to produce the growth that enables the middle classes in particular to experience prosperity and progress? And are these democracies managing to build a coordinated response to the climate, technological and human challenge? Are these democracies managing to build responses to the challenges we face? I think I can also say we triggered a virtuous circle enabling us to make this effective multilateralism work and to make progress along this path.
First of all, we all came together to decide on an extremely ambitious recovery policy. As you know, $12 trillion has been invested by the G7 economies in withstanding and overcoming the crisis, which is an unprecedented economic stimulus, but now, above all, we need to continue coordinating our fiscal recovery policies and our monetary policies. The next few months will be decisive in terms of successfully returning to this growth, emerging from the crisis itself, and collectively being able to create jobs again on a huge scale to give prospects to all our fellow citizens. In this regard, consensus was reached that we still need investment in our economies, precisely to revitalize sectors which are in transition and are the most important for the climate and digital transition, and to continue having coordinated and ambitious monetary policies in order to do so. I think that’s an extremely important achievement of this G7: namely, the firm belief that an expansionist investment policy – to enable the transformation of our economies and create jobs, give prospects to the middle classes and address challenges – is absolutely essential. It’s also essential from a geopolitical point of view, because it’s about this G7’s credibility in also proposing to the rest of the world a model of growth and infrastructure finance that isn’t geopolitically dependent on other values and therefore doesn’t call into question democratic values, and isn’t a model that calls into question the impact of climate change and proposes elements of growth that aren’t compatible with this transition.
The second major achievement of this G7, in my view, is its progress precisely in terms of combating inequalities at international level. I’ve talked about it; for me it’s one of the major issues, and the pandemic has heightened these inequalities. We must be clear-sighted in our societies worldwide, and in this regard several commitments we made really enable us to address this situation. First point: we reached an agreement, prepared at the Paris Summit on Financing African Economies, to redirect some special drawing rights issued by the International Monetary Fund to Africa. As you know, since November 2020 France in particular has been very committed alongside the IMF to proceed with this special drawing rights issue, which is, in a way, an additional capacity given to stakeholder economies to invest out of the crisis. A few weeks ago we secured an agreement from our partners to a $650-billion increase in special drawing rights. But the automatic distribution keys for these drawing rights provided only $33 billion to Africa, which, compared to the financing needs of $290 billion, is much too little. We got all the G7 members to agree to follow the movement we began in Paris on 18 May, which enables at least $100 billion in special drawing rights to go to the African continent. It’s an important step for more justice and an important step for helping the African continent in its emergence from the crisis and its economic and social response. The other extremely significant factor in terms of the fight against inequalities is the collective decision to consolidate the agreement on international taxation reached a few days ago by our finance ministers. Indeed, we confirmed the G7’s commitment to reach an agreement at the OECD in July on a minimum tax on multinationals of at least 15% and to adapt our taxation to the digital economy through a fairer distribution of the tax base – the so-called two pillars. We decided to move forward together on this international taxation, which will enable us to address one of the most glaring inequalities in the way the economy is currently organized. It’s also a very significant step forward whose implementation we’ll be monitoring until the G20 finance ministers’ meeting in July and above all in the inclusive framework of the OECD, also to be held in July. Lastly, regarding the fight against inequalities, we’ve pushed forward an agenda close to our hearts: the fight against gender inequality.
First of all, by continuing the commitment France made alongside Senegal at the Global Partnership for Education Replenishment. I confirmed that half of the €333 million that we’re going to devote to the Global Partnership for Education will be directed to girls’ education, which is a key issue on which we’ve been fighting, as you know, for several years, and is an absolutely key challenge for us all. We were also able to increase our support for female entrepreneurship: AFAWA, created at the Biarritz summit, is now mobilizing $1.5 billion in finance, to be made available by 2024 for female entrepreneurship on the African continent. Together with Canada, we also strengthened our support for NGOs in the South. All this will be consolidated in the coming days with the Generation Equality Forum, which we’ll be holding in Paris on 30 June together with UN Women, and which will enable us to consolidate these results but also establish an agenda of combating violence and supporting women’s sexual and reproductive rights, health, girls’ education etc.
This summit on the plan for effective multilateralism also provided an opportunity to give a boost to the reform of international trade. We’re all committed to our climate and social targets being better taken into account in trade agreements and to speeding up the reform of the World Trade Organization, which unfortunately, as you know, has been blocked for too many years. And the World Trade Organization’s ability to resolve disputes swiftly is a key element of our collective credibility in making this multilateralism work.
CLIMATE AND BIODIVERSITY
And also, two final issues to which I was committed have enabled, or at any rate given rise to, strong commitments during this climate and biodiversity summit: firstly confirmation of the pledge to release $100 billion a year for the climate and therefore to collectively redouble our efforts. All the G7 countries also endorsed their alignment with the standards we established several months ago now on climate finance, the so-called TCFD; the same thing on biodiversity, where we’re currently working on normalizing finance, and above all we took a genuine step forward collectively. And I want to say how important the past few months devoted to our battle against global warming during this G7 have been. Indeed, at the beginning of this year, the United States of America endorsed its return to the Paris Agreement. So that’s a key factor, because the United States of America is re-engaging with the Paris Agreement and has therefore reaffirmed its desire to reduce CO₂ emissions by 50% to 52% by 2030 and [achieve] carbon neutrality by 2050, in accordance with the commitments the European Union made a few months ago. And above all, in recent months South Korea and Japan have embarked on a profound transformation of their choices and decisions, in particular by embarking on the road of abandoning coal and ending funding for the development of coal and fossil solutions, which I think is an absolutely key step forward in the agenda of this G7, and we’ll therefore continue moving forward. In particular I was keen for the biodiversity agenda and the fight against global warming to be linked, because, as we know, many initiatives contribute to both. Here I want to reiterate the importance in our eyes of the Great Green Wall, which was relaunched at the beginning of the year at the One Planet Summit for Biodiversity, held in Paris.
ONLINE TERRORISM AND HATE SPEECH
Finally, on another area, we also endorsed steps forward on strengthening our democracies and shared values in the face of violence and hatred online. You know how committed we are to this agenda. As early as summer 2017, together with Theresa May, we promoted this joint agenda of combating terrorist content online. We achieved the results only two years later. But in the past two years I think I can say we’ve made a lot of progress thanks to the Christchurch Call; we issued it in May 2019 with Prime Minister Ardern and the other G7 members, as well as many other heads of State and government who gradually joined us, and tech leaders, or at any rate many of them. This agenda has enabled us to move forward. It was the Christchurch Call and the Aqaba Process that enabled us to secure the removal of online terrorist content within an hour, which was then translated into a European regulation passed at the end of 2020. And we’re still making headway at European level with the two directives, DMA and DSA. But we’re now in the process of bringing all the G7 members together, on the one hand to fight together against all speech that is racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic etc., and at the same time to succeed in having a policy that both involves discussion with the industry and social media platforms themselves and also, simultaneously, taking responsibility for passing regulations. The American re-engagement endorsed in May around the Christchurch Call was a significant factor. The G7 has mobilized everyone.
PARTNERSHIP AND COOPERATION
Finally, a third goal, as I was saying: my takeaway from my discussions with President Biden and all our partners meeting here is that we managed to regain a genuine shared vision and, above all, a way of working together, namely the firm belief that leadership is stronger through partnership. I think that’s the challenge we all face. We’ve shown our steadfast commitment to smooth cooperation, we have differences, but mutual respect and the desire to work together on the agenda I’ve just recalled is key to our joint effectiveness. These values are shared by all the members present around the table. For my part, I welcome the fact that President Biden was keen to express his commitment several times not only to relations with France but also to the European Union as a political and economic organization. Respecting the European Union and its sovereignty in the framework of the transatlantic partnership is, for me, an extremely crucial element of the relationship we have with our American partners, because it’s a mutually-respective partnership and is based on shared goals and values.
This G7 also provided an opportunity to note the differences we have with democracies that have become liberal like Russia or major undemocratic powers like China, but with a shared desire not to give in to any naivety and therefore obviously to build the framework of our independence, with technological solutions moreover which we Europeans want for ourselves, with partnerships with the Americans, Japanese and others, but with our real autonomy, and in any case the key for addressing the challenge we face is to build a positive and growth agenda in this context. So I’m going to be very clear: the G7 isn’t a club that’s hostile to China. It’s a group of democracies that intend to work with China on all the global issues on which China is ready to work with us, be they the climate, genuine re-engagement in the rules of world trade, or development and the management of African debts, etc. It’s an economic competitor from which we expect full compliance with all the rules we’ve collectively and voluntarily subscribed to: those of the World Trade Organization. And it’s also a power with which we have disagreements which we take on board regarding forced labour or human rights. Our desire is precisely for this framework of relations to be taken on board, but not dramatized, and on the contrary, the role of the G7 powers is to propose a positive agenda, one that enables us everywhere to develop our values, enables us everywhere to provide a positive and concrete response to our ambitions. I don’t want to go on any longer.
Tomorrow we’ll have the opportunity to meet for the NATO summit in Brussels. I think I can also say that this same approach will apply there. I had the chance to discuss this with President Biden, and we previously discussed the issue with all our European partners. For me, the NATO summit will signal this shared desire, first of all, for strategic clarification of the values, principles and rules we want for ourselves within the Alliance and to have a goal, namely to work together, particularly on arms control on the European continent, and in my view this NATO summit is set to signal a return to consistency and shared effectiveness.