Sun. Dec 4th, 2022

The G20 group of the world’s largest economies is meeting this week in Bali, and the European countries are represented by France, Germany, Italy, the European Union, Great Britain, Turkey and Russia.

So what are some of the key things we’ve learned so far?

1. Most of the G20 members condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine

In the draft declaration of the leaders of the G20 countries, it is stated that “the majority” of the members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine.

The countries involved stressed that it “causes enormous human suffering and exacerbates existing weaknesses in the global economy,” the draft said, suggesting that Russia objected to the language.

G20 members also expressed deep concern about challenges to global food security due to escalating tensions and called for the need for central bank independence to ensure they continue efforts to contain rising inflation, the draft showed.

The 16-page document has yet to be adopted by G20 members.

At the first session of the summit held in Indonesia on Tuesday, many countries condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, after which Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov left Bali.

2. China is trying to mend diplomatic fences

Beijing is using the G20 summit to try to mend some diplomatic hurdles in Bali, even amid EU concerns about China’s economic power and issues such as Chinese ownership of key EU infrastructure.

French President Emmanuel Macron held a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G-20 summit on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Xi also met with new Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, signaling he will seek to move past last year’s differences after the first official meeting between the two countries’ leaders since 2016.

Macron asked Xi to intervene with their Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to convince him to stop the “escalation” in Ukraine and return to the “negotiating table”, writes the Elysée.

The two leaders also expressed their desire to “move forward” on several bilateral issues, from agriculture to aeronautics, with Macron saying he wants to visit China in early 2023 if COVID-19 conditions permit.

Xi met with US President Joe Biden on Monday to help ease tensions in their bilateral relations.

3. European leaders talk to Putin personally

European leaders used their G20 speeches to lash out at Russia and make it personal with Putin – even as the Russian delegation sat in the same room.

New British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “I will take this opportunity to unequivocally condemn Russia’s hostile and illegal war in Ukraine. And I know other allies will too because it is right that we highlight what is happening and hold Russia to account.

“I’m not going to run away from it,” Sunak said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a video address at the summit and emphasized that he addressed Russia as “G19”. Russian President Vladimir Putin did not attend the event in Bali.

Zelenskyy reiterated 10 conditions for ending the conflict that began in February, including the complete withdrawal of Russian troops and the full restoration of Ukrainian control over its territory.

He also called for an international conference to “cement key elements of the post-war security architecture in the Euro-Atlantic area, including guarantees for Ukraine.”

4. France uses the G20 summit in Bali to launch a new Indo-Pacific strategy

French President Emmanuel Macron is using the G20 summit to relaunch France’s strategic ambitions in the Asia-Pacific region.

He is meeting regional heavyweights, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the sidelines of the Bali summit.

Above all, he hopes for “recognition” of France’s ambitions and influence at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit on Thursday and Friday in Bangkok, where it will be the first European country to be invited.

The challenges are numerous: from the size of the area on which France is trying to project itself, more than 10,000 kilometers from Europe, to the difficulty in deploying military assets, especially so far from home.

Emmanuel Macron has made this vast area stretching from the East African coast to the West American coast a strategic priority, where France has many territories and sea areas.

This vast maritime space means that France has an interest in environmental and fisheries issues, as well as in the fight against ocean-related human trafficking.

France is also increasingly militarily present, favoring greater cooperation with neighboring countries.

It is increasing joint exercises with India and Japan and patrols in the China Sea.

5. EU leaders took the opportunity to talk in Bali

European Union leaders met on Tuesday on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Bali.

French President Emmanuel Macron sat with, among others, German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, alongside top EU officials Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel.

Talks at the G20 summit began under the hopeful theme of “recovering together, recovering stronger” after the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences.

G20 members include both industrialized and developing countries and account for 80% of the world’s economic activity and two-thirds of the world’s population.

The summit’s official focus is financial stability, health, sustainable energy and digital transformation, but tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have complicated host Indonesia’s efforts to build consensus to address those topics.