Angela Merkel demurs on prospect of physical G-7 hosted by Trump

Merkel addresses a press conference in Berlin on May 20, 2020.
Merkel addresses a press conference in Berlin on May 20, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (BLOOMBERG) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel deflected questions prompted by US President Donald Trump's suggestion that he host a physical meeting of Group of Seven (G-7) leaders next month.

"Let's just wait and see," Merkel said on Wednesday (May 20) at a news briefing in Berlin after talks with officials from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the International Labour Organisation.

Highlighting an area of disagreement with the US leader, she said, "whether as a video conference or in another form, I will definitely fight for multilateralism. That's absolutely clear, at the G-7 and also at the G-20."

Hours earlier, Trump tweeted that he was considering hosting his fellow leaders at Camp David in Maryland.

"It would be a great sign to all - normalisation!" he said.

Merkel has described the crisis triggered by the pandemic as the country's biggest challenge since World War II, requiring a reconstruction plan of historic proportions that her ruling coalition plans to present at the start of next month.

Europe's biggest economy is expected to shrink by more than 6 per cent this year.

Together with French President Emmanuel Macron, Merkel on Monday backed a €500 billion (S$775 billion) fund to help the European Union recover.

Under the proposal, the fund would be financed by bonds issued by the European Commission and make grants to member states that have been hardest hit.