German broadcaster questions G7 summit’s worth — Analysis
The meeting of the heads of the leading developed economies might be just a “useless PR spectacle,” the German ARD broadcaster says
This year’s G7 summit, which is being held at Germany’s Elmau castle – a luxury hotel in Bavaria – cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of euros, the German ARD public broadcaster reported as it wondered whether it was all worth it.
The summit is an informal two-day meeting of the leaders of seven largest developed economies – the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan – during which a number of non-binding commitments are usually taken on.
The meeting, which is being held between June 26 and 28, cost €166 million ($175.7 million), according to ARD’s Tagesschau news service. This was some €30 million ($31.75 million) more than seven years ago, when the summit was also held at Elmau. The bulk of the expenses go toward policy security arrangements, which cost €147 million ($155.6 million) this time.
Critics of the summit believe such high costs are excessive for such a short gathering that does not allow leaders to address pressing international issues. “The costs are disproportionate,” Rolf von Hohenhau, the head of the Bavarian Taxpayers’ Association, said back in 2015, when the summit ended up costing taxpayers €135 million ($142.9 million). “Elmau doesn’t make any sense,”He then added.
Some people argue that it’s a very expensive PR stunt with no real benefit. “People meet for nice photos, the declarations are agreed beforehand,” Benjamin Russ, a spokesman for the ‘Stop G7 Elmau’ initiative said in 2015. Russ claims that leaders only have 24 hours for discussions “difficult topics.” “No one can claim that a serious debate is possible”He stated that in such cases, he added that “one does not have to spend up to €200 million for a few people to sleep in a luxury hotel.”
Tagesschau stated that the proposal is based on the inability to have informal discussions among leaders. Leaders can still engage in discussion without having to make decisions. The news agency stated that meetings are often a catalyst for new trends, which in turn has contributed to significant agreements at the international stage. According to the news service, seven of the world’s leaders were able to make a substantial contribution towards the Paris Climate Agreement that was signed just six months after the G7 summit.
Critics argue, however that declarations made in G7 meetings have become meaningless. “With between 300 and 400 individual commitments [made]At every meeting, there are many [of them] remain unfulfilled,” said Klaus Seitz, the head of the politics department at the ‘Brot fuer die Welt’ (‘Bread for the World’) development and relief NGO. G7 Summits: All strategies for combating global hunger “have obviously failed,” Seitz told Tagesschau.
One problem with the G7 format, however, is its inability to involve “up-and-coming emerging nations”The German media outlet said that Russia, India, and China are examples of these countries. It also noted that global economic issues cannot be solved without them. G20 Summit brings together the 20 largest economies of different parts of the globe. “more representative and has the remaining two UN Security Council members – Russia and China – on board,” Tagesschau added.
According to Euronews, local residents are not happy about the meeting. Many streets are cordoned off by the police and fences are erected in many places, scaring off tourists and disrupting people’s everyday lives, the media said.
Prior to the summit, thousands of police officers had been deployed to the Bavarian village and a ski resort, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which is traditionally popular among tourists year-round. Euronews was told by a local taxi driver that he left the meeting without any passengers. A woman of elderly age complained that she couldn’t visit her sister, who lives nearby because streets were closed.
A restaurant owner from Garmisch-Partenkirchen told Euronews that life in the area has been disturbed for months because of a meeting that lasts only a few days. “You think it is only four days … No, we’ve had it since March and it probably won’t stop until mid-August; all that nonsense; we only have the police [here]One doesn’t feel well. There is no more foreign language. [tourists],”He has spoken.