1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
PoliticsGlobal issues

G7 summit: Leaders focus on migration, Africa, AI

Published June 14, 2024last updated June 14, 2024

G7 leaders in Italy discussed the climate, migration, Africa, Iran, nuclear proliferation and more. Pope Francis joined, giving a speech on AI, as did an array of non-G7 leaders like India's Narendra Modi. DW has more.

From left, European Council President Charles Michel, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, US President Joe Biden, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stand for a group photo at the G7 summit, June 13
The G7 leaders have sought to display strong and united support for key issues like Ukraine or ChinaImage: Alex Brandon/AP Photo/picture alliance
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

  • G7 leaders pledged commitment to phasing out fossil fuels, but activists argued they left some wiggle room

  • The meeting leaders agreed on a three-pronged approach to tackle migration
  • Pope Francis becomes the first pontiff to attend and deliver a speech at the summit, warning of the dangers of AI

Here's a roundup of developments from the G7 summit on Friday, June 14. This blog is now closed.

Skip next section Activists critical of G7 climate commitments
June 14, 2024

Activists critical of G7 climate commitments

Climate activists have criticized the outcomes of the current G7 summit in Italy, saying the world's Group of Seven rich democracies have merely reiterated previous commitments rather than offering significant progress.

A 36-page leaders communique dedicated some five pages to the topic of "Energy, Climate, and Environment," with a focus on welcoming the commitments made during the last UN climate summit, COP28.

They also confirmed their environment ministers' pledge last April "to phase out existing unabated coal power generation in our energy systems during the first half of 2030s," though not without allowing for some wiggle room. 

They allowed countries to commit to phasing out "in a timeline consistent with keeping a limit of 1.5C temperature rise within reach, in line with countries' net-zero pathways." This is believed to be tailored particularly to fit the needs of Germany and Japan, whose economies still depend on fossil fuels.

"The G7 leaders could have stayed at home. No new commitments were made," Friederike Roeder, vice president at Global Citizen, was quoted as saying. "At a time when the world needed bold leadership from them, the leaders' meeting added no value," 

Greenpeace's climate politics expert Tracy Carty was also critical.

"To stay below 1.5C, the G7's plan to phase out coal is simply too little, too late and gas is neither cheap nor a bridge fuel to a safe climate," she said. 

The summit was surrounded by a climate sit-in held outside the G7 media center in Bari. Protesters wore T-shirts featuring an olive tree in flames emerging from a red-hot Mediterranean sea.

Skip next section G7 warns Russia over nuclear weapons
June 14, 2024

G7 warns Russia over nuclear weapons

G7 leaders were "greatly concerned by Russia's irresponsible nuclear rhetoric and actions," according to their declaration after their gathering in Italy.

They warned that "any use of chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear weapons by Russia [in Ukraine] would be met with severe consequences."

The G7 leaders also said they would continue working to address North Korea's and Iran's continued advancement of nuclear and ballistic missile programs. 

President Vladimir Putin said last week Russia did not need to use nuclear weapons to secure victory in Ukraine.

His remarks came only after repeatedly saying that Russia would use such weapons if necessary to defend itself.

Russia was not the only country worrying the G7, they also expressed concern over China's "opaque and accelerating expansion of its nuclear arsenal."

The G7 leaders also said they would continue working to address North Korea's and Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. 

Skip next section G7 leaders outline plan to tackle migration
June 14, 2024

G7 leaders outline plan to tackle migration

In the declaration after their summit in Italy, G7 leaders agreed on a three-pronged approach to tackle migration.

"We affirm our collective commitment to addressing migration as a global phenomenon, tackling the challenges it presents and seizing the opportunities it brings globally, through an integrated, comprehensive, balanced approach, in line with international law," they stated.

That approach includes addressing the root causes of irregular migration, including conflict, poverty, and human rights abuses. 

Climate change, a risk multiplier, will also be considered.

The G7 will also work to "support the safe and dignified return of persons not eligible to remain" in third countries as well as to
support "sustainable reintegration efforts in countries of origin."

It closely aligns with summit-host Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and the European Union's efforts to deal with migration

G7 leaders also said they would establish regular migration pathways that "must meet national needs, comply with our laws, sovereign decisions, and fair recruitment principles."

Strengthening border management and tackling illegal migration-related activities were identified as key priorities.

Skip next section Pope warns G7 leaders of dangers of AI
June 14, 2024

Pope warns G7 leaders of dangers of AI

Pope Francis was the first pontiff to address a Group of Seven summit, and he used the occasion to warn world leaders that artificial intelligence (AI) must never be allowed to gain the upper hand on humanity.

Global leaders warmly embraced the 87-year-old pope as he was pushed around their huge oval table in a wheelchair, his movement limited by age and health issues.

The pope said the ever-changing technology of AI represented an "epochal transformation," but stressed that it needed close oversight to preserve human life and dignity.

"No machine should ever choose to take the life of a human being," he said, adding that powerful algorithms should not be allowed to decide people's destinies.

"We would condemn humanity to a future without hope if we took away people's ability to make decisions about themselves and their lives, by dooming them to depend on the choices of machines," the pontiff warned.

Francis acknowledged an ambivalence surrounding AI, saying it would be inspirational and widen access to knowledge.

"Yet at the same time, it could bring with it a greater injustice between advanced and developing nations or between dominant and oppressed social classes," he added.

"It is up to everyone to make good use of [AI] but the onus is on politics to create the conditions for such good use to be possible and fruitful."

Skip next section Leaders map out food security initiative
June 14, 2024

Leaders map out food security initiative

Leaders meeting in Italy have pledged to step up efforts against global malnutrition, according to a draft statement noting that Russia's invasion of Ukraine had "aggravated" the world's food problems.

The G7 Apulia Food Systems Initiative (AFSI) — which is named after the Southern Italian region hosting the summit — aims to "overcome structural barriers to food security and nutrition."

The initiative focuses on low-income countries and support projects in Africa, one of the priorities under Italy's rotating G7 presidency this year.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni announced a flagship Italian plan to help Africa earlier this year. She has repeatedly said that support for the continent is essential to deal with the root cause of illegal migration to Europe.

The AFSI initiative, the details of which are to be agreed by G7 development ministers in the coming months, garnered criticism from African agricultural groups that said they were not consulted.

The G7 powers also committed to cooperate to "improve the fiscal space for food security," including by reducing borrowing costs for poorer nations.

Skip next section Putin slams G7 deal to use frozen Russian funds for Ukraine
June 14, 2024

Putin slams G7 deal to use frozen Russian funds for Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned an agreement by G7 leaders to use frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine as "theft" and said there would be retaliation.

Putin said Western powers were still trying to "create at least some legal basis" for the decision arrived at on Thursday.

"But despite all the fuss theft will remain theft. It will not go unpunished," Putin was cited by the TASS news agency as saying in a speech at the Foreign Ministry in Moscow.

The G7 summit in southern Italy began with a deal to lend Ukraine roughly $50 billion using interest from frozen Russian state assets.

The money is to be made available to Kyiv by the end of the year.

The US government says some $280 billion of Russian central bank funds has been immobilized in Western countries because of sanctions imposed since Russia's full-scale attack on Ukraine more than two years ago. Most of that money is within the European Union.

Kyiv would use the money to strengthen its defense, pay for reconstruction, and fund the state budget.

Separately on Friday, Putin said that the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the territories annexed by his country was a prerequisite for any settlement of the ongoing war. Ukraine would also have to renounce NATO membership, he also said. 

Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, described the demands as "a complete sham," and "offensive to common sense."

Skip next section G7 draft omits abortion reference at Italy's request — reports
June 14, 2024

G7 draft omits abortion reference at Italy's request — reports

Italian right-wing Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who is hosting the G7 summit, has prevented the group from reaffirming a clear commitment to the right to abortion in their final declaration, according to several media reports.

A draft of the G7 statement upholds a commitment "to universal access to adequate, affordable, and quality health services for women", made by the leaders at their summit in Hiroshima in Japan last year.

However, it removes specific reference to the importance of "access to safe and legal abortion and post-abortion care."

Predominantly Catholic Italy, which holds the rotating G7 presidency, said there was no need to repeat the language, given that they had specifically reiterated their Hiroshima pledge.

However, France and Canada were understood to have tried to strengthen the language on abortion rights, but failed to get it past the Italians.

Parts of the United States have seen major changes to reproductive rights after a 2022 ruling by the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v Wade case, which codified the right to an abortion.

Skip next section G7 pens warning to Iran over nuclear enrichment
June 14, 2024

G7 pens warning to Iran over nuclear enrichment

G7 leaders are set to warn Iran against advancing its nuclear enrichment program, as well as saying they would be ready to enforce new measures if Tehran were to transfer ballistic missiles to Russia, a draft communique says.

"We urge Tehran to cease and reverse nuclear escalations, and stop the continuing uranium enrichment activities that have no credible civilian justifications," the statement seen by Reuters news agency said.

Iran has rapidly installed extra uranium-enriching centrifuges at one site and it has begun setting up others, a UN nuclear watchdog report says.

Iran is now enriching uranium to up to 60% purity, closer to the 90% of weapons-grade material. If enriched further, that would be enough for three nuclear weapons, according to an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) yardstick.

"Iran must engage in serious dialogue and provide convincing assurances that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful, in full cooperation and compliance with the IAEA’s monitoring and verification mechanism, including the Board of Governors’ resolution of 5 June," the G7 said.

Tehran says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.

Is Iran developing a nuclear weapon?

Skip next section Russia says US-Ukraine security deal 'just pieces of paper'
June 14, 2024

Russia says US-Ukraine security deal 'just pieces of paper'

Russia's Foreign Ministry has dismissed a US-Ukraine security deal announced during the G7 summit as "just pieces of paper."

Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying: "These agreements are about nothing. They do not have legal force."

Ukraine signed security agreements with the United States and Japan on Thursday — the latest in a string of similar agreements with Western allies, including Britain and France.

The documents included promises to continue military and financial support for Kyiv as it fights the Russian invasion.

The deals were aimed mainly at "showing citizens who have remained in Ukraine... that the world community seems to still be with them," Zakharova said.

"In reality, they avoid any legal responsibility for the future of Ukraine," she added.

On Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the 10-year agreement with Washington represented a "bridge" to NATO membership for Ukraine.

G7 leaders agree to use frozen Russian assets for Ukraine

Skip next section Focus shifts eastward to China
June 14, 2024

Focus shifts eastward to China

The G7 leaders meeting in Italy are expected to turn their attention from Ukraine to China, looking at security in the Asia-Pacific and avoiding a trade war with the world's second-largest economy.

US President Joe Biden and the leaders of Japan, Italy, France, Germany, Canada, and Britain opened the second day of their summit in Puglia with talks about migration.

However, the main session comes before lunch with attention moving to a framework for fair trade with Beijing — most notably when it comes to green technology.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was set to lead the talks, which officials said would also cover North Korea and China's territorial disputes with its neighbors.

The G7 is also seeking a common response to China's alleged support of Russia's military expansion.

"G7 countries are on the same page vis-a-vis China," a Japanese government source told the AFP news agency. 

EU targets Chinese e-vehicles with higher tariffs

Skip next section Leaders sing 'Happy Birthday' to Scholz
June 14, 2024

Leaders sing 'Happy Birthday' to Scholz

G7 leaders began Friday's talks on a light note, singing "Happy Birthday" to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who turned 66 on Friday.

The singing session was led by US President Joe Biden, according to the German delegation.

Scholz, who is accompanied in Italy by his wife Britta Ernst, had already celebrated his birthday at midnight with his team, receiving a cake.

The week had not started particularly well for the German leader with the aftermath of the European elections, with his Social Democrats achieving an underwhelming 13.9% of the vote. 

After the G7 conference, the chancellor will travel on to a Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland before returning to Berlin to join preparations for the federal budget.

Skip next section What to expect on Day 2: Migration, security, Africa, AI
June 14, 2024

What to expect on Day 2: Migration, security, Africa, AI

G7 leaders are expected to discuss a raft of global challenges during the second day of their summit in Italy.

Topics on the agenda include migration, the Indo-Pacific region and economic security, Africa and artificial intelligence (AI), among others. 

The leaders are also expected to voice concern about China's excess industrial capacity and its support for Russia .

The US announced new sanctions earlier this week targeting Chinese companies that help Russia pursue its war in Ukraine.

The US Commerce Department also announced sanctions targeting shell companies in Hong Kong for diverting semiconductors to Russia this week.

Pope Francis will attend the summit on Friday and deliver a keynote speech on the risks and potential of AI.

On Friday, several leaders from non-G7 countries will also join the summit, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Kenyan President William Ruto, among others. 

The attendance of at least 10 other heads of state at the summit is intended to show that the G7 isn't an aloof, exclusive club.

Blinken asked by DW about China's support for Russia

Skip next section Ukraine dominated first day as G7 agrees funding plan
June 14, 2024

Ukraine dominated first day as G7 agrees funding plan

Leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) have gathered in Italy for their annual summit that is being held from June 13 to 15.

Ukraine dominated discussions on the first day of the summit, with the G7 nations agreeing to a $50 billion loan for Ukraine this year backed by interest from frozen Russian assets. 

While technical details of the deal have yet to be worked out, the commitment by the group — which includes the US, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom, along with the European Union — shows Western resolve to meet Kyiv's defense needs as it fights Russian forces.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz hailed the loan as a "very historic step" that sends a clear signal to Russian leader Vladimir Putin that he "can't just sit this out."

Scholz: 'This is a very strong commitment'

All G7 countries are expected to contribute to the loan, and the cash should reach Ukraine by the end of the year.

Additionally, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who was also attending the meeting, signed a 10-year bilateral security agreement with the US on the sidelines of the summit.

Several other countries have similar long-term agreements with Ukraine, including Germany, France and the UK.

Zelenskyy also signed a security agreement with Japan, a country that has been a major financial backer for Ukraine as it fights Russia's military aggression.

rm/sri (Reuters, AP, AFP, DPA)