US President Donald Trump is scheduled to attend the G7 summit in Biarritz, France this weekend. The G7 gathering is a forum between the world’s leading countries about global challenges such as the economy, foreign policy, protecting the environment and tackling other inequalities. The 73-year-old US leader, who is renowned for making controversial and polarising comments, recently questioned whether attending the G7 summit was worth his time. So does Mr Trump have to attend the summit and is it possible he could pull out?
Donald Trump has been unafraid of alienating “friends” during his presidency, shown by creating tariffs on trade which have led to a trade war with China, pulling out of the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran and continuing plans to create a wall between the USA and Mexico.
Now, President Trump is potentially about to upset the six other G7 nations as he has been revealed to have complained about the gathering, saying it was not a productive use of his time.
This year’s G7 summit is the US leader’s third and comes amid global economic tensions, raging wildfires in the Amazon and pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
In conversations with aides over the past few weeks, Mr Trump has reportedly questioned why he is required to attend the G7 summit.
READ MORE: Who is in G7? Who are the ‘Group of 7’ – and why is the EU included?
After the past two G7 summits ended acrimoniously, Mr Trump has complained about attending a third – reportedly saying he did not view the meeting as particularly productive.
He has made similar comments with the two of the other world leaders attending the summit: Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Emmanuel Macron.
These two political leaders have encouraged him to maintain his commitment to the Group of 7 and the sumits, according to sources.
The G7 meetings are small group sessions, with only the leaders and a few aides present, within which the world’s major economic and geopolitical problems are discussed at length.
Rather than a day of royal banquets and lavish parades which many state visits involve, the G7 summit is about multilateralism and creating wider solutions to issues affecting countries around the world.
Speaking about Mr Trump’s aim in calling for economic talks at the G7 summit, an administration official said: “I would anticipate President Trump will be speaking quite frankly about the policies he’s seen work in his own economy and really wanting to work with other countries in the G7 to figure out how we can jumpstart growth in economies all around to ensure that there are markets and opportunities for all of our workers and people.”
Given this change in the schedule and Mr Trump has touched down in France, it seems highly unlikely that he would not attend this year’s summit.
However, many believe he could pull out after then.
But, luckily, the political leaders from the other G7 nations are not worried about Mr Trump leaving the alliance next year as the US is due to host it, which means he would not be likely to pull out until 2021, when it is most likely to be held in the UK.