British PM Johnson picks Cornwall for in-person G-7 summit in June

Mr Boris Johnson will host the summit in southwest England from June 11 to 13.
Mr Boris Johnson will host the summit in southwest England from June 11 to 13.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to host Group of Seven (G-7) leaders at a three-day summit in the picturesque seaside village of Cornwall in mid-June as the wealthy nations look to chart a course for recovery from the global pandemic.

Mr Johnson will host the summit, the first in-person gathering for the G-7 leaders in almost two years, in southwest England from June 11 to 13, the UK Cabinet Office said in an e-mailed statement.

The United Kingdom takes over the rotating presidency of the group on Sunday (Jan 17), and will look to use its role to unite the democracies in a focus on economic recovery from a year largely lost to Covid-19.

Mr Johnson said he wants to use Britain’s presidency of the G-7 to forge a consensus that the global economy must recover from the Covid-19 crisis in a pro-free trade and sustainable way.

“Coronavirus is doubtless the most destructive force we have seen for generations and the greatest test of the modern world order we have experienced,” he said in a statement. “It is only right that we approach the challenge of building back better by uniting with a spirit of openness to create a better future.”

Britain has suffered badly during the health crisis, with the highest death toll in Europe of more than 88,000 people.

Britain's G-7 leadership in 2021 is an opportunity to revive the forum after President Donald Trump was often seen as undermining it, including in Canada in 2018 when he refused to sign the end-of-summit communique.

Last year’s G-7 meeting, due to be hosted by Mr Trump, was cancelled due to the pandemic, meaning the leaders of Britain, Germany, France, the United States, Italy, Japan, the European Union and Canada have not met in person since the 2019 meeting in Biarritz, France.

The Sunday Telegraph newspaper said the British government hoped the event would be the occasion for US President-elect Joe Biden’s first trip to Europe after he becomes president on Jan 20.

“I don’t think he will visit anywhere else before the G-7, except possibly Canada,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed British government source as saying.

Mr Johnson has also invited Australia, India and South Korea to attend.

The summit will take place in the tiny resort of Carbis Bay in Cornwall, southwest England – an area now most famous for its beaches and surfing but also home to fishing fleets and once an important mining area.

“Two hundred years ago Cornwall’s tin and copper mines were at the heart of the UK’s industrial revolution and this summer Cornwall will again be the nucleus of great global change and advancement,” Mr Johnson said.