Day 1 of the 2021 G7 summit

By Ivana Kottasová, Aditi Sangal, Nick Thompson, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Melissa Mahtani, CNN

Updated 11:35 a.m. ET, June 13, 2021
27 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
10:41 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

G7 leaders have "huge opportunity" to work together on pandemic recovery, Johnson says

From CNN's Nada Bashir

Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images
Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

The leaders of the G7 will work together as part of a “united vision” to support the recovery of the global economy, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday, describing the summit as a “huge opportunity” for leaders to learn from mistakes made during the global coronavirus pandemic. 

“We need to make sure that we don’t repeat some of the errors that we made over the course of the last 18 months or so, and we need to make sure that we now allow our economies to recover, and I think that they have the potential to bounce back very strongly,” Johnson said. 

“There are all sorts of reasons to be optimistic, but it is vital that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the last great crisis, the last great economic recession in 2008, when the recovery was not uniform across all parts of society,” he added. 

Speaking ahead of a roundtable discussion with G7 leaders on the first day of a three-day summit in Cornwall, England, the British prime minister stressed the need for equal recovery across society.

“I think what’s gone wrong with this pandemic, or what risks being a lasting scar, is that I think the inequalities may be entrenched. We need to make sure that, as we recover, we level up across our societies and we build back better,” Johnson said. 

“I think that is what the people of our countries now want us to focus on. They want us to be sure that we’re beating the pandemic together and discussing how we’ll never have a repeat of what we’ve seen, but also that we’re building back better together, building back greener, building back fairer and building back more equal and in a more gender-neutral and more feminine way — how about that,” he added. 

10:31 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

EU leaders declare China a "systemic rival"

From CNN's Joseph Ataman

European Union leaders declared China a “systemic rival, a partner on global issues and a competitor” at a meeting in Cornwall, England, ahead of the Group of Seven summit, the French presidency said on Friday. 

The G7 member nations intend to pursue this issue with President Biden during the summit in Cornwall, England, the statement added. 

The heads of state also addressed global access to Covid-19 vaccines. To achieve this, France intends to strengthen the World Health Organization’s Act-A initiative, implement in-kind donations and mobilize pharmaceutical laboratories, the statement said. 

These efforts should achieve a 60% vaccination of the population of the Global South by March 2022, in particular in Africa, according to the French presidency.

10:26 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

Germany's Merkel "very happy" to meet with Biden, says G7 will send "strong" message on multilateralism

From CNN’s Nada Bashir and Nadine Schmidt

Stefan Rousseau/WPA Pool/Getty Images
Stefan Rousseau/WPA Pool/Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she is “very happy” to meet with US President Biden, adding that the G7 Summit will send a “strong” message in support of multilateralism.

“I am of course happy that the American President is present here. Being able to meet Joe Biden is obviously important because he stands for the commitment to multilateralism which we were missing in recent years,” Merkel said.

“We will find strong words here in support of multilateralism and also for values based multilateralism which will lead to a dispute with Russia and in some aspects also with China,” she added. 

Addressing reporters shortly after her arrival at the summit in Cornwall, England, the German Chancellor said she hopes G7 leaders will be able to achieve positive results on issues including the re-starting of the global economy, climate protection and global access to coronavirus vaccines. 

“We need everyone across the world, we want to work together, especially on the issue of climate protection and biodiversity where we will never find solutions without China,” Merkel said. 

“I hope we will achieve very good results here to show that we are not only thinking of ourselves but also of those who do not yet have a possibility to get vaccinated, especially the countries in Africa but also elsewhere,” she added. 

Earlier today, the White House said Biden will welcome German chancellor Angela Merkel to the White House next month. The White House said Merkel will visit on July 15. It will be her first visit to Washington during Biden's presidency, and likely her final US visit in a long era as chancellor.

Merkel is not seeking a fifth term and will depart office. Elections to replace her are in September.

CNN's Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins contributed reporting to this post.

10:06 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

Biden’s meeting with Putin next week is not a “reset” or “reward,” US national security official says 

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Amanda Sloat, the National Security Council’s senior director for Europe, said President Biden’s upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin is “certainly not a reset.”

“This is not a reward. I think the President believes that there are areas where we can work with the Russians, for example on things like strategic stability, which is important not only to the United States but also to our European allies. And at the same time, the President has made very clear that he is going to address our differences,” she told CNN’s Jim Sciutto today.

“And the President really believes he's going to have the wind at his back as he moves into this meeting with President Putin” on June 16 following the G7 and NATO summits, she said. 

Sloat also said that Biden’s “overarching message” is that “democracies can work and that democracies can come together to address these challenges.” 

There will be conversations during the three-day G7 summit about ransomware and emerging threats, as well as infrastructure and the Covid-19 pandemic, she said. 

As Biden and the first lady were returning indoors after the G7 "family photo," reporters asked the President what his message was for Putin.

“I’ll tell you after I deliver it," he said before walking indoors.

CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed reporting to this post.

11:21 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

G7 leaders pose for "family photo" ahead of first day of summit

From CNN's Kevin Liptak in Falmouth, England

Host TV 2
Host TV 2

The G7 leaders posed for the landmark "family photo" in Carbis Bay, England ahead of the first plenary session of the three-day summit.

It's a major moment for President Biden, who has been near the center of the American foreign policy establishment for decades but never as a member of the world leaders’ club.

On Friday, he took his place alongside the leaders of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and the European Union to pose for a photo marking the start of the G7 summit. Biden posed to the right of Johnson during the photo.

Biden was seen in friendly conversation with President Emmanuel Macron of France and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada as he walked to the platform. As the leaders were returning inside after the photo was taken, Biden walked arm-in-arm with Macron, whom he had not yet met as president.

More on today's agenda: The leaders of the world's advanced economies are gathering today on the Cornish coast for the first time since the global coronavirus pandemic began, welcoming Biden as a new member who arrived here intent on restoring traditional American alliances.

The global economy is up first in the summit, with the global tax rate and aid for countries in need on the docket. These efforts, the White House said, will "forge a more fair and inclusive global economy" as the world leaders gather in Cornwall.

Biden and the G7 leaders, the White House said, will "discuss ways to forge a more fair, sustainable, and inclusive global economy that meets the unique challenges of our time. President Biden and G7 partners are committed to a global recovery that benefits the middle class and working families at home and around the world."

The group is expected to announce an endorsement for the global minimum tax of at least 15%, a Biden-led overhaul of the global tax system, after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and her finance minister counterparts announced an agreement on the matter earlier this month in London.

Read more about today's meetings here.

Watch the historic moment here:

10:08 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

Biden arrives for first G7 summit as President

From CNN's Kevin Liptak in Falmouth, England

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden were greeted by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson for the start of the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, England.

The group shared an elbow bump upon greeting. The G7 leaders are expected to take the landmark "family photo" soon.

Biden was the second-to-last leader to greet host Johnson. The two men and their wives posed for a photo with Carbis Bay as the backdrop before the Bidens kept walking into the venue.

Earlier today, the US first lady met Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, touring a school in Cornwall, England, near the G7 summit.

Biden and the Duchess focused their meeting on children and education during their first-ever meeting, which took place at Conor Downs Academy, inside a classroom of 4- and 5-year-old students. 

CNN's Kate Bennett contributed reporting to this post. 

9:19 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

Biden and Putin not expected to hold joint presser after high-stakes meeting next week

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak

President Biden and Russian President Putin are not currently expected to hold a joint news conference following their high-stakes summit in Geneva next week, two US officials familiar with the matter say.

The final plans are still being formulated, and could change. But officials putting together the day’s events said that as of Friday, no joint press conference was expected.

This is a change from three years ago, when then-President Trump met privately for two hours with Putin in Helsinki. Both leaders spoke to reporters after, which is when Trump sided with the Kremlin over US intelligence agencies. 

US officials said they expect to be negotiating details of the summit’s structure and format with their Russian counterparts until the hours before it begins.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan said earlier this week that details like a joint press conference were still being sorted.

“All of that is still being worked out,” he said. “So when I've got more to report on the modalities, both in terms of how the meeting will be structured and the press elements, we’ll come back to you.”

Sullivan said as Biden was flying to England to begin his foreign trip that the President himself did plan to speak afterward.

“He does want to have an opportunity after that meeting to read it out and speak about his impressions and what he sees as the way forward,” he said.

In the weeks following Biden’s invitation to Putin for a summit meeting in Europe, officials from the two sides have negotiated details of the encounter, including its agenda and location.

Some more background: Putin has a history of joint news conferences with his American counterparts, including a much-maligned appearance alongside then-President Donald Trump in Helsinki. Trump drew criticism for appearing to side with Putin instead of American intelligence agencies after a question on election meddling.

Officials who have been involved in arranging past US meetings with Putin say the Russian side often pushes for a joint press conference, hoping to elevate Putin’s stature by having him appear alongside the American leader.

It’s one of several fraught decisions that go into planning meetings with Putin.

9:19 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

Duchess of Cambridge and Jill Biden express hope UK-US can work together to better early education

From CNN's Nada Bashir

Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images
Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

During a visit to a local elementary school in Cornwall on the first day of the G7 Summit, the Duchess of Cambridge and First lady Jill Biden, expressed their hopes for the United Kingdom and the United States to work together to support the improvement of early childhood education.  

“Ultimately, my hope is that we change the way we think about early childhood, ready for generations to come,” Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, said Friday during a roundtable discussion on the importance of early childhood on lifelong outcomes.

"I am committed to this for the long term. I hope our two countries can keep sharing data, knowledge and best practice for many years to come,” she added. 

Speaking alongside the Duchess of Cambridge, the US first lady said she is “sure” the two countries will continue to work together, expressing how important she feels early childhood education is for all. 

“Early childhood education is so important to lay the foundation for all of our students, so thank you for having me and for inviting me here,” Biden said. 

While touring a classroom and meeting with pupils at the Connor Downs Academy, Biden also expressed how “impressed” she was by the “inspiring” pupils she met and the work of the school to support early years education. 

Asked by reporters how important she feels early childhood education will be for children during and after the global coronavirus pandemic, the first lady touched on her own experience as an educator, describing early years education as “the foundation of everything.” 

“I can tell you that as a teacher at the upper levels, if they don’t have a good foundation, they fall so far behind, so this is amazing to see what these children are doing, and how far advanced they are at four and five years old,” Biden said. 

Read more about their meeting today here.

8:38 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

The first day of the G7 summit kicks off today. Here's what you should know about the meeting.

From CNN's Paul LeBlanc

Police officers stand near a sign outside the media center on the first day of the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, England, on Friday, June 11.
Police officers stand near a sign outside the media center on the first day of the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, England, on Friday, June 11. Hollie Adams/Bloomberg/Getty Images

President Biden's first international trip since taking office includes a G7 summit, where he will look to reestablish US leadership on key global topics. The first day of the three-day summit is today in Carbis Bay, England.

Here's what you need to know about the summit:

What is the G7?

The G7 is shorthand for Group of Seven, an organization of leaders from some of the world's largest economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Russia was indefinitely suspended from the group — which was at the time known as the G8 — in 2014 after the majority of member countries allied against its annexation of Crimea.

What does the G7 do?

Members of the G7 meet each year for a summit to discuss global issues, such as international security and the world economy, and coordinate policy. This year, recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to be a big topic.

In a statement ahead of the summit, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would urge his fellow G7 leaders to make concrete commitments to vaccinate the world, as well as give support to the "Global Pandemic Radar" — a new global surveillance system intended to protect immunization programs.

What power does the G7 have?

The group has often produced decisions with global consequences.

Ahead of this year's summit, for instance, G7 finance ministers agreed to back a global minimum tax of at least 15% on multinational companies. The G7 group also agreed that the biggest companies should pay tax where they generate sales, and not just where they have a physical presence.

Read more about the G7 here.