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Group of Seven agree on mass vaccination

The Group of Seven nations has agreed to participate in a worldwide vaccination plan to halt the coronavirus pandemic. It comes amid concerns that impoverished countries are being left out in the global jab drive. They also pledged to raise their contributions to meet an overdue spending pledge of 100 billion dollars a year by rich countries to help poorer ones cut carbon emissions.

By Stefan J. Bos

There was a royal welcome for Joe Biden, who became the 13th U.S. President, to meet the British queen at the first in-person G-7 summit in nearly two years. His widely anticipated arrival in Cornwall, southwest England, also came amid expressed hopes among those attending the gathering that Biden would be a more predictable partner then his predecessor Donald J. Trump.

The gathering was the first in-person G-7 summit in nearly two years. It was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, which was an important topic. The leaders agreed to provide 1 billion vaccine doses over the next year as part of a worldwide vaccinating plan. They will work with the private sector and the Group of 20 industrialized nations and other countries to increase the contribution over months to come.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. "I actually think that this is a meeting that genuinely needs to happen because we need to make sure that we learn the lessons from the pandemic, we need to make sure that we don't repeat some of the errors that we doubtless made in the course of the last 18 months or so," he stressed.

The Group of Seven leaders also agreed on Sunday to raise their contributions to meet an overdue spending pledge of $100 billion a year by rich countries to help poorer ones cut carbon emissions. They claim it is part of efforts to deal with what they believe is the danger of global warming.

French President Emmanuel Macron said America is back to discuss these and other issues. "We have to face a lot of challenges, a lot of crises — climate change. And for all these issues, what we need is cooperation," he said. "And I think it's great to have the U.S. President part of the club and very willing to cooperate. And I think that what you — what you demonstrate is that leadership is a partnership," he told Biden, with the sea nearby. "And — and we do appreciate it, and I think we can deliver great things for that."

Strong cohesion

President Biden agreed.  "I think we can do a lot, too. We — the United States, I've said before — we're back. The U.S. is back. We feel very, very strongly about the cohesion of NATO," he said. 

"And I, for one, think that the European Union is an incredibly strong and vibrant entity. That has a lot to do with the ability of Western Europe to not only handle its economic issues, but provide the backbone and the support for [the] NATO [military alliance]. "

The leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States aim to show they are friend to poorer nations.

Global tax

The G7 will also introduce the first-ever 15 percent global corporate tax proposed by U.S. President Joe Biden, saying corporations should pay their "fair share of taxes." Not all European Union countries agree, including Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has condemned the move.

Some tensions remained with the U.S. expressing worries about the stand-off between Britain and the EU over regulatory checks on goods going into Northern Ireland from Britain could threaten peace. President Biden has a close interest in Ireland, given his ancestral roots, and has warned that rows must not jeopardize the Good Friday Agreement over trade.

Between all the talks, there were some spiritual moments. In a seaside resort in England, churchgoers say they have been left "gobsmacked" when U.S. President Biden and the first lady Jill Biden dropped in for a Sunday service.

On Sunday morning, ahead of the summit's conclusion, they were seen attending mass at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in St. Ives.

13 June 2021, 17:27