By CCN.com: For the first time in the G7’s 44-year history, the summit will conclude without a joint communique. According to the Financial Times, the host of this year’s summit French President Emmanuel Macron has decided to abandon the practice to prevent an ugly public show of differences similar to what happened last year in Canada.
The French president has implicitly cited the rise of populist leaders across the globe as a driving factor:
We are living through a very deep crisis of democracy.
So what happened at last year’s G7 summit?
The French president seemed to have the U.S. president on his mind as he stated that it was “pointless” to issue statements on matters such as the Paris Climate deal when it was obvious that “President Trump won’t agree”.
During last year’s summit in June, President Donald Trump abruptly withdrew support for the joint statement. He blamed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the move labeling him “dishonest and weak”.
This was after Trudeau had rejected the rationale provided by the U.S. to justify tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. At the time, German Chancellor Angela Merkel indicated that Trump’s move to retract support for the joint statement was “sobering” and “depressing”.
A picture of Donald Trump surrounded by his allies from the G7 countries during a summit in Canada was one of the most memorable of the year. Here's is a round-up of the best images of 2018 https://t.co/iLWGSFF5d8 pic.twitter.com/aO3fzJXvJQ
— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) December 25, 2018
Throwing the baby out with the bathwater?
The G7 summit is coming at a critical moment with various pressing global issues on the table. This includes the U.S.-China trade tensions which are threatening to dramatically cut economic growth across the globe. But now for the first time in over four decades, the globe’s leading developed nations will present a fractured front at their annual summit.
Macron’s move thus seems to be a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. As the French President himself revealed, the heart of the problem has already been identified.
Le Président himself confessed that “no one reads the communiques” before they are issued. This means that if the leaders were briefed on the content of the communique prior to release, it might be possible to prevent disagreements spilling out into the open.