Merkel be­lieves growth must be in­clu­sive

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

With an eye on anti-glob­al­iza­tion protests brew­ing in Ham­burg be­fore this week’s G20 sum­mit, Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel said yesterday lead­ers will have to fo­cus on sus­tain­able and in­clu­sive eco­nomic growth rather than their own pros­per­ity. In her weekly pod­cast, the Ger­man chan­cel­lor said this year’s G20 sum­mit will delve into is­sues cham­pi­oned by pro­test­ers such as dis­tri­bu­tion of wealth and con­sump­tion of re­sources - along­side re­lated is­sues like cli­mate change, free markets, con­sumer pro­tec­tion and up­hold­ing so­cial stan­dards.

Tens of thou­sands of demon­stra­tors marched against the meet­ing in the rain in Ham­burg yesterday in a pre­lude to the July 7-8 gath­er­ing, where 21,000 po­lice from across Germany will pro­tect the meet­ings of the world’s 20 largest economies. “It’s not only go­ing to be about (eco­nomic) growth but rather sus­tain­able growth,” Merkel said. “We’ve got to have a ‘win-win’ sit­u­a­tion for ev­ery­one. The is­sues ob­vi­ously re­volve around: how do we achieve in­clu­sive or sus­tain­able growth?”

Merkel, seek­ing a fourth term in a Sept. 24 elec­tion, out­lined the is­sues as: “What are we do­ing with our re­sources? What are the rules for dis­tri­bu­tion of wealth? How many peo­ple are tak­ing part? And how many coun­tries are able to profit from that?” With­out men­tion­ing the protests that have Ger­man se­cu­rity of­fi­cials worried about pos­si­ble acts of sab­o­tage this week in the coun­try’s sec­ond-largest city, Merkel noted that these non-tra­di­tional is­sues were forced onto the G20 agenda.

“If we sim­ply try to carry on as we have in the past, the world­wide de­vel­op­ments will def­i­nitely not be sus­tain­able and in­clu­sive,” she said. “We need the cli­mate pro­tec­tion agree­ment, open markets and im­proved trade agree­ments in which con­sumer pro­tec­tion, so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards are up­held.” In a speech to par­lia­ment last week, Merkel promised to fight for free trade and press on with mul­ti­lat­eral ef­forts to com­bat cli­mate change at the sum­mit, chal­leng­ing the “Amer­ica First” poli­cies of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

Deep di­vi­sions

The G20 meet­ing fol­lows a G7 sum­mit in Si­cily a month ago that ex­posed deep di­vi­sions be­tween other Western coun­tries and Trump on cli­mate change, trade and mi­gra­tion. Trump later an­nounced he was pulling the United States out of a land­mark agree­ment to com­bat cli­mate change reached in 2015 in Paris. Ger­man au­thor­i­ties are brac­ing for trou­ble in Ham­burg, worried that the protests could turn vi­o­lent as they did outside a G8 sum­mit in Genoa, Italy in 2001 when one per­son was shot dead and hun­dreds in­jured.

The Ger­man Fed­eral Crime Of­fice warned that vi­o­lent G20 op­po­nents could carry out ar­son and sab­o­tage at in­fra­struc­ture tar­gets such as the Ham­burg har­bour and air­port, news­pa­per Welt am Son­ntag said yesterday. “New and cre­ative forms of at­tack have to be watched out for,” the re­port said. It added Ham­burg po­lice are brac­ing for at­tempts by ac­tivists to dis­rupt elec­tri­cal power in Ham­burg.

Yesterday’s demon­stra­tion was or­ga­nized by a group called “Protest Wave G20”, with 50,000 to 100,000 pro­test­ers ex­pected on an af­ter­noon march through the city cen­tre. Other demon­stra­tions this week are called “Wel­come to Hell” and “G20 Not Wel­come”.

HAM­BURG: Pro­tes­tors with masks of politi­cians (L-R) EU Foreign min­is­ter Fred­er­ica Mogherini, Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May, Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin drink cock­tails in a boat on the Al­ster river dur­ing a demon­stra­tion called by sev­eral NGOs ahead of the G20 sum­mit. —AFP

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