Trudeau, Merkel meet to plot G20 plan

The Western Star - - Canada -

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau had a pri­vate meet­ing with Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel early Fri­day just prior to the of­fi­cial start of the G20 sum­mit in Ham­burg, Ger­many.

The two spoke briefly about Trudeau’s chil­dren for the cam­eras be­fore go­ing be­hind closed doors for a 30-minute pri­vate meet­ing to dis­cuss the Canada-Europe free trade agree­ment (CETA) and strate­gies to get as many other lead­ers as pos­si­ble on board Merkel’s en­ergy ac­tion plan.

The work­ing paper, put for­ward by Merkel as part of her G20 pres­i­dency year is ex­pected as an ap­pen­dix to the G20 of­fi­cial com­mu­nique, the doc­u­ment the lead­ers will sign declar­ing what was de­cided in the meet­ing.

Trudeau told the Ger­man news­pa­per BILD on Thurs­day his aim with Merkel is to al­ways find out how she thinks Canada can help.

“We are not a big, big coun­try in terms of our weight, but we have an abil­ity to get cer­tain things done,” he said.

“Word is she feels we can or should be do­ing a lit­tle more. Whether it’s en­cour­ag­ing friends and neigh­bours to have a dif­fer­ent take on things, or be­ing part­ners on mul­ti­lat­eral en­gage­ments, like with NATO coun­try Latvia, hold­ing the eastern bor­der.”

Help­ing with friends and neigh­bours of course is a ref­er­ence to U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

Trudeau has been more care­ful than some other world lead­ers in crit­i­cism of Trump and many other world lead­ers or their of­fi­cials have leaned on him to try and reach out to Trump.

Merkel and Trump — who met pri­vately them­selves Thurs­day — have a dif­fi­cult re­la­tion­ship and the ten­sions be­tween the two have threat­ened to over­shadow the G20 meet­ings, par­tic­u­larly as it re­lates to get­ting agree­ment on cli­mate change.

At the G7 meet­ings in Si­cily in May, Trump re­fused to agree to the cli­mate change lan­guage in the com­mu­nique, mak­ing it a six against one sce­nario.

Merkel’s en­ergy plan is a sep­a­rate doc­u­ment, the work­ing draft of which in­cludes lan­guage on ev­ery­thing from fos­sil fuel sub­si­dies to re­quire­ments for com­pa­nies to dis­close the cli­mate im­pacts of their in­vest­ments and busi­ness prac­tices.

For Merkel, get­ting 19 of the G20 lead­ers to sign the doc­u­ment would be a tremen­dous po­lit­i­cal success in her battle with Trump but do­ing it is no sure bet.

CP PHOTO

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau greets Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel dur­ing a bi­lat­eral meet­ing at the G20 sum­mit Fri­day in Ham­burg.

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