The G7 summit in Biarritz this weekend will fail to rise to any of its urgent challenges
Rarely has there been more need of collective action on the world’s problems than at the G7 summit hosted by Emmanuel Macron in Biarritz this weekend. Rarely have the chances of success appeared so miserably low. The G7 is supposed to be the forum where the west’s leading nations get to grips with thorny economic and political issues, and even though life has moved on since a previous French president, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, hosted the first get-together at Rambouillet in 1975, there is plenty to talk about. Three subjects scream out for attention: protectionism, Brexit and the climate emergency.
As in the mid-1970s, the global economy is not in good shape. Growth is slowing and there is a hint of recession in the air. In two G7 members – Germany and the UK – output is falling; in a third, Italy, it is stagnant. Around the world, factories are operating at much less than full capacity.