The next G8 meeting takes place in Heilgendamm on 6-8 June and hosted by German chancellor Angela Merkel. What will be discussed?
Investment, innovation and sustainability: The G8 will push on with free trade. The summit will also discuss protectionism, and the “free movement of investment and capital”. No doubt the G8 governments will carry on protecting their own economies while expecting everyone else to open theirs to multinational capital.
Merkel met Tony Blair in February and afterwards announced that climate change would be the top item on the agenda of both her G8 and European Union (EU) presidency.
This might seem a bit more encouraging – and there’s no doubt an international agreement on climate change is a necessity. The problem is that any agreement will no doubt follow the logic of “market environmentalism”. So at best it involve a miserable target and a strategy that allows capital to make billions by trading, offsetting or taxing carbon — rather than actually reducing emissions..
Africa: On Africa there will be more talk and little else. Last year Agence France Presse reported that the German African agenda would move away from the “multi-billion dollar debt relief agreed in Gleneagles” in 2005.
What will this mean? Merkel told the Davos forum in January that the G8 would look at how African “can better be integrated into the world economy” — rather than why debt relief and aid have been forgotten despite the promises made in 2005.
More significantly, the Financial Times reported that the summit would discuss “a micro-credit fund for African entrepreneurs” and a “declaration by multinational companies from G8 countries pledging to increase business with African countries” (13 February 2007).
In March another report in Agence France Presse reported that Merkel’s cabinet had drafted a proposal that each member of the G8 would sign a “partnership” with an African country.
The summit will mimic, at least on the economic terrain, the Congress of Berlin in 1885 where the big powers met to divide up Africa between themselves.
If that’s all they are going to talk about, is worth holding the G8 summit at all? Not holding the meeting would save an awful lot of carbon emissions and well as a great deal of money. According to the German press, a 14km security fence is being built around the site of the summit, at a cost of 12.4 million euros. Apparently at least 10,000 police will be deployed and security alone will cost 92 million euros.
The only up side is that even the organisers expect 100,000 people to demonstrate at the counter-summit. No Sweat is supporting these mobilisations and hopefully hundreds of thousands will march and tell the G8 exactly what they think of its dismal deliberations.