Eighth extra: what to expect from the third row of the G7 summit without Russia


Thursday, may 26, in the Japanese city SIM offers annual, 42-th summit of leaders of the G7 countries. Third time in a row the heads of major Western powers of the world are going without the participation of Russia. With the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis in March 2014, leaders “the seven” has decided to cancel the meeting in Sochi and instead to hold a summit in Brussels without the participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A year later (now retired) Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper threatened to oppose the return of Russia to the club of industrialized countries as long as the country is headed by Putin. The Kremlin retorted that the format of such meetings, in his opinion, loses effectiveness in comparison with the broader clubs: G20 or the SCO. By the spring of 2016, neither for the West nor for Moscow the question on returning of Russia and restore the G8 format in the actual agenda is not included.

The economic basis

“I am confident that the major theme of the summit will be the question of how the G7 countries are going to respond to the current challenges in the global economy”, — said the head of the Japanese government Shinzo Abe.

Your expectations from the summit the Prime Minister of Japan described in its own article for publication The Wall Street Journal. More than half of Abe’s article is devoted to the problem of the slowing global economy and attempts to reverse this process. According to the politician, the greatest optimism in the global plan now gives us a great demand for infrastructure in the broadest sense: from ports to telecommunications. To turn this challenge into a benefit, world powers need to increase productivity, moving the balance of supply and demand — this, according to Abe, is the guarantee of economic growth and prosperity.

Because the key theme of the upcoming summit will be the global economy, I agree, Yasushi Kudo, head of the analytical center of the Genron NPO, the columnist and Council on Foreign Relations. Japan, according to experts, expanded the “traditional set” of the economic program G7 to the side, for example, gender equality and investment in infrastructure. For comparison: in 2015, the economic agenda consisted of issues such as standards for the production of consumer goods and the problems of the poorest countries in Africa.

The specific proposal, Tokyo will be increased government spending to stimulate economic growth, what eve said Abe. An example can be conducted in Japan’s policy of quantitative easing to buy government bonds — the “injection” of money into the economy is a way to increase business activity.

As reported by the Australian Agency AAP, citing Japanese media, Abe agrees head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, acts against German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Earlier in February, the IMF criticized Germany for excessively tight fiscal discipline and a failure to increase investment in infrastructure.

During the summit, Japan will not be forced others to follow his example, but will likely defend its own policy in current conditions, said head of sector of the economy and politics of Japan IMEMO Vitaly Shvydko. As the expert said, after three years of optimism regarding the so-called abenomics, the government realized that the financial measures (currency devaluation, redemption of bonds) was not enough, and the authorities have directed the flow of funds into the economy as investment in infrastructure and other public works. This will inevitably lead to an increase in the budget deficit, and Abe’s task will be to protect its strategy on the world stage, I’m sure Shvydko.

According to the latest IMF forecasts (as of early may), Japan is facing stagnation. The country’s GDP in 2016 will grow by only 0.5%, and in 2017 will fall by 0.1%.

Cool topic

Of the most important political topics will be the fight against terrorism: on the background of the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, the plane crashes. The participants of the G7 summit plan, according to Abe, to make a plan of action of the great powers to combat terrorism and extremism. Japanese leader pays attention to the origins of terrorism — again, it is the lack of economic and social development. Yasushi, Kudo emphasizes that the implementation in practice of the counter-terrorism program G7 — remains an open question.

The Ukrainian crisis and the policy towards Russia at this time was on the periphery of the summit. In 2014 the Kremlin has received harsh statements because of “ongoing violations of the territorial integrity of Ukraine”, the discussion of Russia was at the center of the summit. In 2015, the Russian subject was allotted a conversation at a gala dinner on the first day of the summit. Then the leaders of the “seven” exchanged views on the issue of strengthening sanctions against Moscow.

Russia this time is not even present in the provisional agenda of the event: the organizers only briefly mentioned the Ukrainian question as one of the possible topics for discussion. At the April press conference on the eve of the summit, chief Secretary of the Japanese Cabinet Yoshihide Suga has gone on the answer to the question will be discussed at the summit of normalization of Russian-Japanese and Russian-Ukrainian relations. “Speaking of which topics will be discussed at the summit, now we only coordinate these issues with the parts decide later,” said Suga. According to sources Reuters in the German government, the sanctions against Russia will be present in the conversation the leaders of the G7, but no statements about it (in particular, in the final communique from the summit participants are expected.

The issue of cooperation with Russia in the framework of the G7 or even the G8 re-emerged after the official visit of Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe in Sochi in early may. Back in February, Japanese media claimed that Washington urged Abe to refrain from going to the summit “the seven”, but the Japanese Prime still headed for a meeting with Putin. The leaders discussed not only bilateral relations, but also joint decision of the regional security issues (primarily the problem of the DPRK) and the possible involvement of Tokyo in the projects of Rosneft.

At the same time Forbes columnist Jeremy Maxi is still confident that Japan, using the right of the hostess of the summit, will contribute to the agenda of the two interested in Tokyo: the condemnation of aggressive actions of China in the disputed territories in the East China and South China seas and the return to the G8 format with Russia’s participation. And if on the first issue Maxi expects consensus, the initiative for the return of Russia, according to him, move not get.

In any case, says Shvydko from IMEMO, even the Russian side is not interested in the return of the G8 format. “Tokyo would like to play the role of representatives of Russian interests, but from Moscow itself needs it not,” — said the expert. The stumbling block is the international condemnation of the Russian policy towards Ukraine. While “the seven” will not change its position, Russia to return to the club has no plans, said Shvydko.