Friday

14th May 2021

Trump and Putin take centre stage at G20

  • Putin to discuss sanctions with US and Ukraine with EU leaders (Photo: kremlin.ru)

US leader Donald Trump’s first meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin will take centre stage at a G20 summit in Germany on Friday (7 July) that is officially dedicated to climate change and free trade.

The two men will meet for about 30 minutes in the margins of the event at the same time as plenary talks on global warming, highlighting Trump’s recent decision to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement on curbing greenhouse gasses.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Merkel seeks robust statement on climate change (Photo: EPP/Flickr)

Trump’s aides said prior to the event that he wants a “constructive dialogue” with Putin, but also that he has no specific agenda for the meeting.

"It's whatever the president wants to talk about,” general Herbert Raymond McMaster, his security adviser, said last week.

Trump in a speech in Warsaw on Thursday pledged allegiance to Nato and urged Russia to halt its “destabilising” activity in Ukraine.

He said on allegations that Russia meddled in the US elections to help him win: “I think it was Russia, but I think it was probably other people and/or countries.”

For his part, Putin wrote in Handelsblatt, a German newspaper, that he too wants a “working dialogue” but that the EU and US should lift economic sanctions on his country.

The US leader will also meet his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to discuss how to handle North Korea’s recent missile tests as well as tensions between US and Chinese navies in the South China Seas.

For her part, German chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that she is prepared to talk long into the night to get a robust summit communique on climate, free trade, and migration.

"The negotiations are not easy,” she said.

The G20 statement is being seen by Germany as a counterpoint to Trump’s anti-Paris Agreement and protectionist policies.

China, the world’s biggest polluter, and India have already pledged to support Paris despite the US decision.

The EU on Thursday concluded a free trade pact with Japan to show that its trade agenda was alive and well.

But anti-globalisation protesters in Hamburg on the eve of the G20 came out in their thousands to make known their views on trade, with German police forced to make 76 arrests.

Merkel is also planning to hold separate talks with French leader Emmanuel Macron and Putin on Ukraine.

France and Germany brokered the so-called Minsk ceasefire agreement on the conflict, but neither Russia nor Ukraine have fulfilled Minsk provisions, with daily fire still reported on the contact line three years after fighting began.

Putin is also expected to meet with European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday morning to discuss the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany.

The Commission wants to negotiate the legal model for the project on behalf of the EU, with Nordic and eastern EU states up in arms over the idea of concentrating almost all Russian gas exports to Europe in German hands.

Opinion

Trump loses badly in debut with Putin

Vladimir Putin gained from his performance at the G20 summit in Hamburg. But the same can't be said about the US president.

News in Brief

  1. No EUobserver newsletter on Friday 14 May
  2. Germany stops Facebook gathering WhatsApp data
  3. Italy rebuts reports of EU deal with Libya
  4. MEPs demand EU states protect women's reproductive rights
  5. At least nine dead in Russia school shooting
  6. Bulgaria interim government appointed until July election
  7. German priests defy pope to bless same-sex couples
  8. New EU public prosecutor faults Slovenia

Opinion

Why Russia politics threaten European security

Russia could expand hostile operations, such as poisonings, including beyond its borders, if it feels an "existential" threat and there is no European pushback.

Analysis

Ten years on from Tahrir: EU's massive missed opportunity

Investing in the Arab world, in a smart way, is also investing in the European Union's future itself. Let's hope that the disasters of the last decade help to shape the neighbourhood policy of the next 10 years.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. EU aims at 'zero pollution' in air, water and soil by 2050
  2. French police arrest Luxembourg former top spy
  3. Vaccine drives spur better-than-expected EU economic recovery
  4. Slovenia causing headaches for new EU anti-graft office
  5. 'No place to hide' in Gaza, as fighting escalates
  6. EU chases 90m AstraZeneca vaccines in fresh legal battle
  7. Fidesz MEP oversees FOI appeals on disgraced Fidesz MEP
  8. Belgium outlines summer Covid relaxation plans

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us