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
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10:38 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

"Big change" to see Biden leading on climate after Trump policies, UK environment secretary says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

President Joe Biden speaks about his administration's global Covid-19 vaccination efforts ahead of the G7 summit, June 10, in St. Ives, England.
President Joe Biden speaks about his administration's global Covid-19 vaccination efforts ahead of the G7 summit, June 10, in St. Ives, England. Patrick Semansky/AP

British Environment Secretary George Eustice said it was “a big change” to see the US engaging in global climate action following the lack of commitment on the issue from the Trump administration.

It's really welcome that the United States is back at the table on this agenda. The world can’t make progress here, unless we get very big players, including the united States at the table,” he told CNN.

While the Trump administration rolled back many of the climate commitments the US had made in the past, the Biden administration has “completely changed the US stance on this,” Eustice said.

Referring to his meeting with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, Eustice said:

“It’s clear now that there is a real appetite in the US to play its part and take that global leadership again on this agenda. They are, now, really leading in this field.”

Eustice said he spoke with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson about his bilateral meeting with Biden, and that Johnson called it “a breath of fresh air” to have the US back at the table again. "So, I think it is a big change," Eustice said.

Apart from the G7 summit, the UK is also hosting the COP26 climate meeting later this year. Eustice says the aim is to get “more ambitious targets from countries to reduce their carbon emissions.”

The UK has already set its nationally determined contribution at 68% by the end of this decade, and “we’ve already said that by 2035, we want to 78% reduction against our 1990 level,” Eustice added.

However, the government's own independent climate advisor, the UK Climate Change Committee, said the government needs to put in place a firm and detailed plan on how to achieve the goal.


10:32 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

China may not be a member of the G7, but it's dominating the agenda

From CNN's Nectar Gan and Ben Westcott in Hong Kong

China, and the ideological challenges posed by its rise, is set to be among the most pressing topics facing leaders of the G7 summit.

In his first foreign trip as the US President, Joe Biden is expected to try and convince allies to join Washington in taking a tougher stance towards Beijing over its actions in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and the South China Sea among other areas.

Laying out his trip last week, Biden wrote in the Washington Post that "the United States must lead the world from a position of strength," including on confronting the "harmful activities of the governments of China and Russia."

In some areas, there are signs such a united front is already forming.

In a joint statement on Thursday, Biden and his British counterpart Boris Johnson vowed to support a further investigation into the origins of Covid-19, including in China.

Support from the UK and possibly other G7 members will add weight to Biden's push for a reexamination on the origins of the virus, including new scrutiny on the lab leak theory. Beijing lashed out at Biden's call last month, accusing Washington of "political manipulation to shift the blame."

The summit is also reportedly expected to see the launch of a green alternative initially pushed by Biden to rival China's Belt and Road Initiative, with an aim to support sustainable development in developing countries.

10:34 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

The G7 wants a sweeping overhaul of the global tax system. Here's what it means

From CNN's By Tara John and Kevin Liptak

US President Joe Biden will use his G7 debut on Friday to push for one of his international policy priorities: a global agreement on a global minimum tax rate of at least 15% on multinational companies.

The finance ministers of the seven countries have already put their support behind the plan during their meeting in London last weekend.

Crucially, the group also agreed that the biggest companies should pay tax where they generate sales, and not just where they have a physical presence.

UK finance minister Rishi Sunak announced the agreement in a video posted on Twitter on Saturday, saying G7 finance ministers -- hailing from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US -- had "reached a historic agreement to reform the global tax system to make it fit for the global digital age and, crucially, to make sure that it's fair so that the right companies pay the right tax in the right places."

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the agreement was a "significant, unprecedented commitment," from the world's richest economies aimed at preventing companies from avoiding taxes by shifting profits overseas.

The announcement could have wide-reaching impacts. Tech giants such as Apple, Facebook and Google might be affected by the agreement. Foreign governments have long complained that large digital companies should pay them more in taxes.

Some have recently passed taxes specifically targeting revenue generated by such companies, including those based in the US such as Facebook, Google and Amazon.

Read more here.

10:34 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

UK to donate 100 million surplus vaccine doses to COVAX

From CNN’s Sarah Dean and Arnaud Siad

The United Kingdom will donate at least 100 million surplus Covid-19 vaccine doses to COVAX, the vaccine sharing initiative, and to countries in need within the next year, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce Friday. 

In a statement issued by Downing Street on Thursday, Johnson said:

As a result of the success of the UK’s vaccine program we are now in a position to share some of our surplus doses with those who need them. In doing so we will take a massive step towards beating this pandemic for good.

G7 leaders are expected to agree to provide one billion doses via dose-sharing and financing with an aim to end the pandemic next year, the statement adds.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced the United States plans to donate 500 million Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine doses globally. 

4:00 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

Carrie Johnson steps onto global stage with G7 role

From CNN's Laura Smith-Spark and Kevin Liptak

The Johnsons and the Bidens outside Carbis Bay Hotel in Cornwall ahead of the G7 summit on Thursday.
The Johnsons and the Bidens outside Carbis Bay Hotel in Cornwall ahead of the G7 summit on Thursday. Toby Melville/Pool/AP

Carrie Johnson has taken her first step onto the world stage as she welcomed the Bidens to Cornwall, southwest England.

It comes only two weeks after she married British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a ceremony that was kept secret until after the event. The couple has a one-year-old son.

The Bidens and Johnsons met on the seafront Thursday in Carbis Bay before the wives left to take tea together, and the two leaders headed into a bilateral meeting.

On Friday, the 33-year-old will take center stage as she and her husband welcome the remaining leaders of the Group of Seven nations — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan — and their partners to the G7 summit at Cornwall's Carbis Bay Hotel.

Carrie Johnson, nee Symonds, will not be the only spouse notching up her first G7 appearance as the summit gets under way Friday.

Jill Biden is also attending for the first time, as are Mariko Suga, wife of the new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, and Maria Serenella Cappello, wife of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

Brigitte Macron, spouse of French President Emmanuel Macron, has a number of G7 summits under her belt already and helped host the leaders for their last face-to face meeting in Biarritz in 2019.

Last year's G7, due to have been hosted in the US by then-President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, was canceled because of the pandemic.

3:26 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

US first lady will meet the Duchess of Cambridge on Friday

From CNN’s Max Foster in London

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, will meet with US first lady Jill Biden on Friday, Kensington Palace told CNN.

A spokesperson said they will conduct “a joint engagement."

The palace has not yet publicly released any further information regarding the meeting, including expected timings or the location.

10:34 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

Leaders to focus on the global economy on day one of the summit, White House says

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with US President Joe Biden, ahead of the G7 summit, at Carbis Bay Hotel, on June 10, near St Ives, England.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with US President Joe Biden, ahead of the G7 summit, at Carbis Bay Hotel, on June 10, near St Ives, England. Toby Melville/WPA/Pool/Getty Images

As the G7 summit kicks off Friday, the global economy will be front and center, according to a statement from the White House.

The leaders of some of the world's biggest economies will discuss global tax rate and aid for countries in need. These efforts, the White House said, will “forge a more fair and inclusive global economy” as the world leaders gather in Cornwall. 

President 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."

The statement says the G7 leaders 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% after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and her finance minister counterparts announced an agreement on the matter earlier this month in London.  

10:37 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

Key things to know about the Covid-19 vaccine donation announced by Biden

From CNN's Betsy Klein, Kate Sullivan and Maegan Vazquez

President Biden announced Thursday evening that the United States plans to donate 500 million Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine doses globally as part of his efforts to reassert US leadership on the world stage.

"America knows first-hand the tragedy of this pandemic. We've had more people die in the United States than anywhere in the world, nearly 600,000 of our fellow Americans," Biden said in remarks after meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

He added, "We know the tragedy. We also know the path to recovery."

The move will also serve to counter efforts by Russia and China to use their own state-funded vaccines to expand their global influence.

During remarks announcing the vaccine purchase, Biden underscored that there were no strings attached with accepting the US-bought vaccines.

'Let me be clear: Just as with the 80 million doses we previously announced, the United States is providing these half-(billion) doses with no strings attached," Biden said. "Our vaccine donations don't include pressure for favors or potential concessions. We're doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic. That's it. Period."

Administration officials suggested the move is part of a broader effort for the world's democracies to lead the way in pandemic recovery. The effort to donate doses is also intended to encourage other US allies to step up.

"We're also using this announcement today to leverage and mobilize larger commitments from the world's democracies, from the G7 and partner countries," a separate senior official said, previewing a "G7 Covid-related multilateral announcement."

At the G7 summit this weekend, the official said, leaders will announce a "collective effort by the world's democracies to beat Covid-19 for once and for all."

Here are other key things to know about the donation:

  • With regards to the timeline, officials said the Pfizer doses will begin to ship in August and 200 million doses will be delivered by the end of this year.
  • The remaining 300 million doses will be delivered in the first half of 2022.
  • They will be manufactured in the US, the officials said, "employing thousands of workers" in states like Michigan, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
  • The cost will be around $1.5 billion, which will come from previously allocated funds in the American Rescue Plan relief package passed earlier this year.

Read more about Biden's announcement here.

10:37 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

Ahead of today's summit, hundreds of former leaders urged G7 leaders to vaccinate the poor against Covid-19

Story by Reuters and CNN's Jessie Yeung

One hundred former presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers have urged the Group of Seven (G7) rich nations to pay for global coronavirus vaccinations to help stop the virus mutating and returning as a worldwide threat.

The leaders made their appeal ahead of a G7 summit in England which begins today, when President Biden will meet the leaders of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan.

It's the first time the G7 leaders have met since the start of the pandemic. The three-day summit will cover a range of issues, with a particular focus on how the group can lead the global recovery from coronavirus.

In their letter to the G7, the former world leaders said global cooperation had failed in 2020, but that 2021 could usher in a new era.

"Support from the G7 and G20 that makes vaccines readily accessible to low- and middle-income countries is not an act of charity, but rather is in every country's strategic interest," the letter said.

Among the signatories were ex-British premiers Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, former United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, and 15 former African leaders.

They said the G7 and other leaders invited to the summit should guarantee to pay what would amount to about $30 billion a year over two years towards fighting the pandemic worldwide.

Read more here.