US-European tensions erupt at the G7 summit
9 June 2018
This weekend’s summit of the G7 is the most contentious meeting in the body’s 43-year history. It has revealed deep and growing fissures between the United States and its European allies.
Press reports have indicated that the summit may conclude without the customary communique after acrimonious public exchanges between US President Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, European officials and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
As late as Thursday, Trump was reported to have considered boycotting the summit altogether, and the administration subsequently announced that the president would leave early.
Looming over the summit is Trump’s June 1 decision to impose sweeping tariffs of up to 25 percent on steel and aluminum imports from the EU and other countries. Both the EU and Canada have made clear they intend to take retaliatory measures, raising the possibility of a full-scale trade war between the United States and its nominal allies.
The bitter character of the divisions between the United States and its allies was made clear in a series of statements by Macron, who declared Thursday on Twitter: “The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be. Because these 6 countries represent values, they represent an economic market which has the weight of history behind it and which is now a true international force.”
Macron subsequently told reporters, “The six countries of the G7 without the United States are a bigger market taken together than the American market.” He added, “There will be no world hegemony if we know how to organize ourselves. And we don’t want there to be one.”
Coming after Macron’s so-called “charm…