United by common values
The G7 meeting in Schloss Elmau showed once again that the G7 countries had more than just prosperity and economic power in common, Angela Merkel said at the press conference which followed the end of the summit. The G7 shared common values such as freedom, democracy and human rights, as well as the rule of law, respect for international law and territorial integrity. That made the G7 a community of responsibility, Merkel stressed.
In their Leaders’ Declaration the G7 heads of state and government emphasise their common values of freedom and democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, and fostering peace and security. Especially in view of the numerous crises in the world, the G7 are united in their commitment to uphold freedom, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Important decisions lie ahead this year
"We want a value- and rule-based economic system, and we want to shape globalization together on the basis of those values," the Chancellor went on to say. The G7 had met this challenge by adopting numerous resolutions during their meeting, she said.
Merkel pointed out that decisions would be taken on important international issues in the course of this year, for instance the adoption of the new Development Goals at this autumn's UN General Assembly and at the Climate Change Conference in Paris. "That is why our agenda focused on international climate issues, development policy, empowering women and health issues, in addition to classic G7 topics," Angela Merkel said.
Towards the Climate Change Conference in Paris
The G7 countries have undertaken to limit global warming. 2We made a firm commitment to the two degree target," the Chancellor said. The leaders reached unanimous agreement on binding greenhouse gas reduction targets which are to be agreed at the Climate Change Conference in Paris in December. The G7 also aim to achieve decarbonisation by the end of this century. In effect that means bidding dirty fossil fuels such as coal farewell.
Diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine
The G7 leaders also dealt intensively with foreign policy issues. They were in agreement as regards Ukraine, said Merkel. "We reiterate our condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea." The only way to solve the conflict in eastern Ukraine was by diplomatic means, on the basis of the Minsk agreement.
The lifting of sanctions was linked to complete implementation of the Minsk agreement, the German Chancellor said. The G7 were also prepared to tighten sanctions if necessary, she added. But the G7 wanted to do all it could to drive the political process forward. They wanted to support Ukraine's reform process, for instance in fighting corruption.
Supporting the fight against terrorism
Discussions also focused on the Middle East and Africa. Merkel said at the press conference that the G7 leaders had discussed the fight against terrorism with the Presidents of Nigeria and Tunisia and with the Prime Minister of Iraq. The G7 were agreed, she said, about the fact that an integrated approach to fighting Boko Haram and "Islamic State" was what was needed. "Religious minorities and majorities need to work together."
Global economy and trade
The Chancellor also said that the G7 felt that global economic recovery had progressed. According to IMF forecasts, all the G7 countries would show growth.
Trade featured highly in the discussions. The G7 were committed to achieving the World Trade Organization's goals and wanted to conclude the Doha Round, said Merkel. She also referred to ongoing negotiations on bilateral trade agreements. "We want to conclude negotiations on CETA, we want to move forward on the free trade agreement with the United States, and to achieve key milestones on the road to an agreement by the end of this year." Negotiations on the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement were to be intensified, too.
Decent working conditions in producing countries
The G7 countries feel they have a responsibility to promote decent working conditions in developing countries. Merkel reminded listeners of the collapse of a textiles factory in Bangladesh two years ago. She was pleased, she said, that the G7 and the International Labour Organization (ILO) had managed to make a total of 30 million US dollars in compensation available to the victims' families.
The G7 also supported the establishment of a "Vision Zero Fund", a general fund which aimed to ensure better working conditions, the Chancellor added.
The G7 countries were committed to preventing future outbreaks of epidemics like Ebola. "We all saw that we reacted badly to Ebola," said Merkel. Ebola had shown us "that we need to improve health systems in many countries".
The situation of women played a key role in many of the discussions, for example on food security, fighting corruption and decent working conditions, Merkel said. "The G7 are committed to increasing the number of women who are vocationally educated by one third by 2030."