Lame ducks and delusions at the G7

On June 13-15, Italy hosted the G7, a summit of the heads of state and government of the traditional industrialized countries: Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. All leaders were present, and the event was hosted by Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni.

The meeting was unusual because of one noteworthy feature. With the exception of the host and the Prime Minister of Japan, the other attendees were all politically weakened. The parties of Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Emmanuel Macron suffered crushing defeats in recent elections, notably this month’s European elections. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak faces a vote where all polls indicate a dramatic defeat. In the U.S., President Joe Biden may not be elected for a second term, or even confirmed as his party’s candidate. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has lost significant voter confidence, with many Canadians preferring elections this year instead of waiting until the scheduled date in 2025. But, despite these troubles, all attendees appeared confident in their own importance.

Issues such as Ukraine and regulating AI received attention, but there were few concrete results beyond the necessary commitment to support Ukraine.

Prime Minister Meloni’s party received favorable results in the European elections and, unlike some of the other participants, she has shown statesmanship and foresight. She leveraged Italy’s ties to the Vatican and its proximity to Africa to advance her strategic agenda.


G7 leaders face a shifting landscape where the developing majority has already altered global economic and political dynamics.


Pope Francis met with the G7 leaders, allowing them to speak face-to-face with the head of the Church. Through its significant global religious and spiritual power, the Catholic Church is also a political power.

Southern Italy is separated from Africa by only a narrow stretch of the Mediterranean Sea. This continent is important for all of Europe, and Italy is acutely aware of this reality. Still, many Europeans see Africa as a continent of problems: corruption, mismanagement, civil war, hunger and disease. They fear a demographic boom and migration. But this view shows a deplorable lack of realism in the self-declared developed world, especially in its leadership.

Africa is a continent of opportunity. It has the most important resource: a young population. It also has abundant arable land and critical natural resources – not to mention its immense cultural wealth and diversity. It does not need patronizing development aid but rather business, trade and investment. Unfortunately, condescending European policymakers often try to enforce European values on Africans. In particular, French President Emmanuel Macron has alienated Africans through his arrogance.

The Italians have a more clear-sighted view. Mr. Macron’s insistence on specifically mentioning access to abortion in the final G7 resolution would have been seen as a provocation in Africa and other parts of the world. Fortunately, Prime Minister Meloni went to great lengths to ensure that this point was dropped.

Most participants of this latest G7 summit may not stay in office long enough to shape the future of politics. Yet, in their self-importance, the G7 leaders are almost farcical. They face a shifting landscape where the developing majority has already altered global economic and political dynamics. Blind to this new paradigm, the old traditional powers are becoming dramatically detached from reality.


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