33rd G8 summit
|33rd G8 Summit|
Group photo of the leaders of G8 and outreach countries
|Dates||6–8 June 2007|
|Follows||32nd G8 summit|
|Precedes||34th G8 summit|
The 33rd G8 summit was held at Kempinski Grand Hotel, 6–8 June 2007. The group of eight leaders met, while more than 100,000 citizens from around the world came to protest the undemocratic nature of the summit, and blocked the main entrance for three days. The summit took place in Heiligendamm in the old Duchy of Mecklenburg in the Northern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern on the Baltic Coast. The locations of previous G8 summits to have been hosted by Germany include Bonn (1978, 1985), Munich (1992) and Cologne (1999).
The Group of Seven (G7) was an unofficial forum which brought together the heads of the richest industrialized countries: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada starting in 1976. The G8, meeting for the first time in 1997, was formed with the addition of Russia. In addition, the President of the European Commission has been formally included in summits since 1981. The summits were not meant to be linked formally with wider international institutions; and in fact, a mild rebellion against the stiff formality of other international meetings was a part of the genesis of cooperation between France's President Giscard d'Estaing and West Germany's Chancellor Helmut Schmidt as they conceived the initial summit of the Group of Six (G6) in 1975.
The G8 summits during the 21st century have inspired widespread debates, protests and demonstrations; and the two- or three-day event becomes more than the sum of its parts, elevating the participants, the issues and the venue as focal points for activist pressure.
Leaders at the summit
The G8 is an unofficial annual forum for the leaders of Canada, the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The 33rd G8 summit was the first summit for French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. It was also the last for British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and Russian President Vladimir Putin (Putin would return to the 39th G8 summit six years later).
Traditionally, the host country of the G8 summit sets the agenda for negotiations, which take place primarily amongst multi-national civil servants in the weeks before the summit itself, leading to a joint declaration which all countries can agree to sign. In any event, security for the world leaders and for the venue remained a high priority throughout.
The summit was intended as a venue for resolving differences among its members. As a practical matter, the summit was also conceived as an opportunity for its members to give each other mutual encouragement in the face of difficult economic decisions. The G8's traditional focus on macroeconomic issues and trade continued to be important, but this core was augmented by an expanded focus on the environment, meeting Millennium Development Goals and cross-border security issues like terrorism. Trans-national crime also remained in the forefront of summit issues.
Schedule and Agenda
At the end of the 32nd G8 summit in Russia, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reported that the agenda of the G8 summit in 2007 had not been determined, but "the struggle against poverty across the globe will be a priority."
According to the official German Presidency website, the summit's motto was "Growth and Responsibility," focusing on "Investition, Innovation und Nachhaltigkeit (Investment, Innovation and Sustainability)", and "Africa: good governance, sustainable investment, peace and security". Transparency of the financial markets, intellectual property and energy efficiency will also be on the agenda, as well as talks about climate change.
Protesters and demonstrations
As with all recent G8 summits, the event drew large protests, part of the alter-globalization movement (a term not generally used by its supporters). The protest was very effective: the entrance to the summit was blocked for the entire three summit days, and world leaders had to be flown in by helicopters. On 29 December 2006, Greenpeace activists tried to break in with a boat through the beach, at the same day anonymous protesters splattered the Kempinski hotel with red and black paintbomb. For the 33rd G8 summit, the local police expected about 100,000 protesters from all parts of Germany and other countries. Preparations were nervous on both sides: 16,000 policemen and over 1,000 soldiers were deployed to protect the interests of the G8 heads of state and government, a 12 kilometer-long steel fence was built around Heiligendamm for the price of €12.4 million (approx. $16.6 million), and ATTAC Germany chartered three trains to get as many discontented citizens as possible from the farther parts of Germany and nearby countries to the year's biggest unified demonstration against G8, along with numerous buses organized by various groups and political parties. The main demonstration took place 2 June 2007 in the nearby city of Rostock and was the starting event for a week of protests and blockades. Organizers spoke of up to 80,000 participants (10.000 Black Bloc), while police put the figure at an estimated 25,000. Towards the end of the 2 June protest, violent clashes occurred between protesters and the police, essentially limited to a small area at the harbor. Initially, these drew wide media overstatement, with initial reports claiming nearly 1000 people injured (433 German police officers, 30–33 of them requiring hospitalisation, and 520 protesters, 20 requiring hospitalisation). Later, these figures were disputed, and the number of police requiring hospitalization was corrected to 2. According to police estimates, 2,000 autonomists led the riots, setting fire to a total of 3 cars and setting up makeshift barricades; many peaceful protesters fled the action and ensuing police response in panic. Over 1,000 protesters were detained, and nine of them were tried and condemned during the summit. Hundreds were expelled. According to the European Democratic Lawyers NGO:
The evidence collected in this manner was absolutely inconsistent and as previously noted everybody detained was released after brief periods of time. In fact it all amounts to an illegal system of mass-indexing and psychological terrorism. The police were aware that the judicial authority would not have confirmed these arrests but proceeded equally with a different objective. The aim was not to arrest presumed offenders but the indexing of a great number of demonstrators, the psychological intimidation of the protesters and the creation of false records to be used in other occasions.
A protest also occurred on 2 June 2007 on the river bank opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, principally a reminder of the G8's previous (and, as the protestors saw them, unfulfilled) promises on debt relief, entitled "G8 – The World Can't Wait" and "Wake Up To Poverty". It was a static protest, with small marches converging on in from Lambeth Park and Methodist Central Hall, on a route starting at the foot of Victoria Tower, along the riverbank of Victoria Tower Gardens, the north side of Lambeth Bridge, and the southern riverbank opposite Parliament as far as (but not including) Westminster Bridge. This principally involved the protesters setting off alarm clocks at 2 pm as a "wakeup call" to the G8, and passed without incident.
The G8 summit is an international event which is observed and reported by news media, but the G8's continuing relevance after more than 30 years is somewhat unclear. More than one analyst suggests that a G-8 summit is not the place to flesh out the details of any difficult or controversial policy issue in the context of a three-day event. Rather, the meeting offers an opportunity to bring a range of complex and sometimes inter-related issues. The G8 summit brings leaders together "not so they can dream up quick fixes, but to talk and think about them together." 
In a non-binding communiqué issued on Thursday 7 June, it was announced that the G8 nations would 'aim to at least halve global CO2 emissions by 2050'. The details which would enable this salutatory goal to be achieved were left to be negotiated.
It was anticipated that the G8 Environment ministers would work together within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in a process that would also include the major emerging economies. Groups of countries would also be able to reach additional agreements on achieving the goal outside and in parallel with the United Nations process.
The agreement was welcomed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair as 'a major, major step forward'. French president Nicolas Sarkozy would have preferred a binding figure for emissions reduction to have been set. This was apparently blocked by U.S. President George W. Bush until the other major greenhouse gas emitting countries, like India and China, make similar commitments.
Missile defence system
En route to the summit, U.S. president George Bush attempted to assuage Russian concerns over U.S. plans to construct a missile defence system in Poland (see US missile defense complex in Poland) and the Czech Republic with remarks appearing to invite Russian participation in the project. At the summit, Russian president Vladimir Putin responded by suggesting that the radar installments for the proposed missile defence system be placed in Azerbaijan. Bush, in turn, responded by describing Putin's ideas as "an interesting suggestion".
Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the establishment of the "Heiligendamm Process" through which the full institutionalisation of the permanent dialogue between the G8 countries and the 5 greatest emerging economies will be implemented.
This process puts an end to the enlargement debate of the G8 into a hypothetical G9, G11, etc. since Merkel declared "The objective is the cohesion of all these countries into a single group which will be called G8+5".
Infrastructure Consortium for Africa
The Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA) was established at the 31st G8 summit at Gleneagles, Scotlandin the United Kingdom in 2005. Since that time, the ICA's annual meeting is traditionally hosted by the country holding the Presidency of the G8—in Russia in 2007.
Controversial video of Sarkozy
Possible poisoning of American delegation
Heiligendamm is situated on the Baltic near the city Rostock, and is the oldest seaside resort in Germany, developed in 1793 as the seaside meeting place of nobility and high society close to Frederick Francis I, Duke of Mecklenburg. It was selected as the location for the G8 summit due to its isolated location, in anticipation of protests such as those in Gleneagles and St Petersburg. The summit site was fenced off by 12 km long barrier, costing an approximate EUR 12.4 million.
Heiligendamm used to be the summer getaway of the Russian imperial family, who were related to the Dukes of Mecklenburg. For the occasion of the G8 summit, a former summer residence of the imperial family was demolished to make space for a media centre, however it was reconstructed in 2010.
For some, the G8 summit became a profit-generating event; as for example, the official G8 Summit magazines which have been published under the auspices of the host nations for distribution to all attendees since 1998.
Security precautions included a $17 million, 8-foot-high, 7.5-mile-long fence topped with barbed and razor wire, which encompassed the landward access to the resort; but no protests were reported from the suppliers of the fencing materials.
Core G8 participants
- Bradley, Kimberly. "A Spa Town Reclaims Its Glory," New York Times. 3 June 2007.
- Saunders, Doug. "Weight of the world too heavy for G8 shoulders," Globe and Mail (Toronto). 5 July 2008. Archived 29 April 2009 at WebCite
- Reuters: "Factbox: The Group of Eight: what is it?", 3 July 2008.
- Bob Reinalda (1998). Autonomous policy making by international organizations. Psychology Press. p. 205. ISBN 978-0-415-16486-3.
- "Influencing Policy on International Development: G8," Archived 13 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine BOND (British Overseas NGOs for Development). 2008.
- Rieffel, Lex. "Regional Voices in Global Governance: Looking to 2010 (Part IV)," Archived 3 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine Brookings. 27 March 2009; "core" members (Muskoka 2010 G-8, official site). Archived 3 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- 2006 St. Petersburgh G-8, delegations.
- http://www.g8.utoronto.ca/summit/2006stpetersburg/delegations.html 2006 St. Petersburgh G-8, delegations;] "EU and the G8" Archived 26 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- G8 Information Centre: Prospective agenda
- McLean, Iain et al. (2009). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics, p. 217., p. 217, at Google Books
- "German Chancellor holds news conference on results of G8 summit". G8Russia. 17 July 2006. Retrieved 19 July 2006.
- Official Agenda, g-8.de
- "G8 Summit declarations" (PDF). (638 KiB), draft of February 2007
- "Ministers in talks for G8 summit", BBC News, 30 May 2007
- Press release of the demonstration consortium, 24 April 2007
- "An Orgy of Violence as G8 Approaches; German City Rocked by Violent Riots," Der Spiegel. 2 JUne 2007.
- Yahoo.de News: Zahl der verletzten Polizisten in Rostock auf 433 gestiegen Archived 25 June 2007 at WebCite
- Yahoo.de News: Organisatoren zählen 520 verletzte Demonstranten nach Krawallen Archived 25 June 2007 at WebCite
- Focus online: Rostock-Krawalle: Zahl der Verletzten zweifelhaft
- junge Welt: Kampf um die Köpfe
- German city rocked by violent riots – SPIEGEL.de international edition
- European Democratic Lawyers (EDL): Press statement (in English)
- "Wakeup call" demonstration Archived 4 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- Lee, Don. "On eve of summit, G-8's relevance is unclear," Los Angeles Times. 6 July 2008. Archived 3 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Feldman, Adam. "What's Wrong With The G-8," Forbes (New York). 7 July 2008. Archived 3 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Landler, Mark and Judy Dempsey. "U.S. Compromise on Global Warming Plan Averts Impasse at Group of 8 Meeting," New York Times. 8 June 2007.
- Breakthrough on climate protection, G8 Summit 2007 Heiligendamm, published 7 June 2007. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
- PM hails G8 climate change step Guardian Unlimited, published 7 June 2007. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
- Sarkozy says would have preferred climate change target to be binding, Forbes, published 7 June 2007. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
- G8 leaders agree "substantial" greenhouse gas cuts, Reuters, published 7 June 2007. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
- "Meeting to Discuss Crisis Impact in Africa's Infrastructure Development," Afrol News. 2 March 2009.
- The Controversial Video of Sarkozy in the G8 Archived 16 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Le Monde, 10 June 2007 (with links to the video)
- Laura Bush memoir claims president was poisoned at G8 summit, The Guardian, 28 April 2010
- "Heiligendamm – First German Seaside Resort". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 19 July 2006.
- Heiligendamm Prepares for the G8 Summit. Deutsche Welle, 17 February 2007. Retrieved 9 May 2007.
- Prestige Media: Archived 19 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine "official" G8 Summit magazine Archived 18 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- Landler, Mark. "Thousands of Protesters Foil Some German Security Measures and Clash With the Police," New York Times. 7 June 2007.
- G8 Research Group: delegations
- G8 Research Group: delegations; European Union: "EU and the G8" Archived 26 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine