The leaders of the world’s advanced economies gathered Friday on the Cornish coast for the first time since the global coronavirus pandemic began, welcoming President Biden as a new member who arrived here intent on restoring traditional American alliances.
With a pandemic raging in much of the world, a global economy still in shock and threats rising from Russia and China, the Group of 7 summit that formally began on Friday was shaping up to potentially be one of the most consequential in recent memory. The gathered nations will pledge to donate 1 billion Covid vaccine doses, with the US providing about half of those shots.
Biden has ramped up those stakes, framing the moment as one just as momentous as the years during and after World War II, when the US, the United Kingdom and their allies worked together to help the world recover.
His day began with the landmark “family photo,” a symbolic moment for a President who has long sought a place in the club of world leaders. The group smiled for the picture with scenic Carbis Bay in the background.
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.
Already, Biden has used his first trip abroad as President to announce a purchase of new vaccines for the developing world, likening it to American wartime efforts building tanks and airplanes. And he sat down for his first face-to-face meeting with Britain’s Prime Minister in a photo op designed to replicate a historic World War II alliance.
He’s sought to convey a message of unity after four years of fractured alliances under then-President Trump.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that she is “very happy” to have Biden at the summit, saying 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.
Read more about day 1 here.