G7 attendees 2021: Which leaders will be at summit?

Boris Johnson hosting first gathering of heads of states in almost two years

Joe Sommerlad
Friday 11 June 2021 09:14 BST

Related video: No breakthrough in UK-EU talks over Northern Ireland border checks, says Lord Frost

Boris Johnson is welcoming leaders from around the world to the UK on Friday as he hosts the latest G7 summit.

The gathering marks the first time the leaders have come together in almost two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Covid-19 expected to be one of the main items on the agenda.

The UK prime minister has called on his fellow leaders to commit to vaccinating the world against Covid by the end of next year.

Follow G7 summit live: Latest developments ahead of world leaders’ meeting

The occasion also sees Joe Biden make his first overseas visit as US president since entering the Oval Office in January and he is expected to use the trip 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 being offered by an increasingly dominant Beijing.

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

Here’s everything you need to know.

What is the G7?

The Group of Seven (G7) countries brings together some of the world’s richest democracies - the UK, US, Canada, Japan, France, Germany and Italy, along with representatives of the EU.

Where is the summit happening?

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

Who else is attending?

Alongside 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 respective countries.

The EU 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 Zoom due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis in his country, currently the world’s epicentre.

What are the potential problems facing the prime minister?

The summit is an opportunity for Mr Johnson to push his “Global Britain” agenda, which attempts to place the UK at the centre of the world stage and make a success of life after the EU.

But the days leading up to the summit have seen a damaging row within his own party over the decision to cut international aid spending from 0.7 per cent of national income to 0.5 per cent, with Mr Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May warning that “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?

Well, when is it not? The ongoing row between the UK and EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol is likely to loom large after violent clashes returned to the country earlier this year.

Unusually for the G7, Brexit minister Lord Frost will be in attendance and the prime minister will hold talks with Ms Von der Leyen as well as his continental counterparts.

US president Mr Biden also takes a keen interest in the issue of peace in Northern Ireland given his own Irish ancestry, with the White House warning against any British conduct that might imperil the Good Friday Agreement.

Are protests expected?

Extinction Rebellion activists have made clear they intend to stage a series of demonstrations calling 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, meaning security will be tight and some 5,000 extra officers drafted in from around the country 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.

Additional reporting by agencies

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