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