The leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission met in Brussels, Belgium, on June 4 and 5, 2014, for the G-7 Summit.
This year’s meeting provided G-7 members with an opportunity to consider coordinated action on the global economy, energy security, and international development.
They also discussed ways to preserve and promote a free, democratic and peaceful world. This included a focus on responses to address Russia’s continuing illegal occupation of Crimea. Additionally, the leaders discussed other political and security challenges, including in Syria, Iran, and North Korea.
Canada welcomes the opportunity offered by the Brussels Summit to discuss approaches to strengthen growth and make the global economy more resilient. It is important to signal the G-7’s collective commitment to free and open markets and a strong rules-based trading system.
The leaders met at a time when the economic outlook is positive as all G-7 economies are expected to grow this year. While the economic recovery is taking hold, ongoing challenges remain. In many countries, growth and inflation remain too low and unemployment remains too high. For Canada, the economy has recovered from the global recession better than many of its G-7 peers and more than one million Canadians are working today than during the depths of the economic crisis. Moreover, as announced in Economic Action Plan 2014, Canada will return to a balanced budget in 2015. This reflects Canada’s steadfast commitment to fiscal responsibility and sound economic management, the principles that will guide Canada’s approach to G-7 discussions.
International Political and Security Challenges
The illegal seizure of Crimea and Russia’s continued military aggression against Ukraine contravenes the principles and values on which the G-7 operates, including a shared commitment to freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Since the beginning of the crisis, Canada and the G-7 have strongly condemned Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine, including by imposing coordinated economic sanctions and travel bans on key Russian and Ukrainian figures and entities responsible for undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
For its part, Canada has put in place sanctions against over 100 Russian and Ukrainian individuals and entities responsible for the crisis, contributed hundreds of Canadian observers to help facilitate free, fair and democratic elections in Ukraine, and is providing $240 million to help Ukraine implement needed economic reforms, and promote democratic and social development.
Discussions at this year’s Summit focused on supporting the newly elected Ukrainian President and considering further measures to deter Russia’s continuing illegal occupation of Crimea and its persistent military aggression in Eastern Ukraine.
Beyond Ukraine, the leaders also discussed ways to address ongoing challenges in Syria, Iran and North Korea. This included talks on prospects for ending the ongoing civil war in Syria, as well as outstanding questions regarding Syria’s commitment to fully destroy all its chemical weapons, and the worsening humanitarian situation in the country and the region. On Iran, the leaders reviewed the implementation of the Joint Plan of Action and considered how best to press the regime to comply with all of its international obligations to verifiably end its nuclear weapons program and to curtail its continued human rights abuses. Measures to press North Korea to halt the development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and to address its gross and systematic human rights violations in the country were considered as well.
Recent events highlight the need to address energy security challenges. Building on the G-7 Energy Ministers’ Meeting held in Rome, Italy, on May 5 and 6, 2014, the leaders reiterated that energy should not be used as a means of political coercion, nor as a threat to security. They discussed ways to improve energy security at national, regional and global levels, including by diversifying energy fuels, sources, and encouraging the development of indigenous sources of energy supply. As a major energy producer and net-exporter, Canada can play a key role in supporting our partners as they look to diversify energy supplies. Canada can also share our expertise in the responsible use and development of energy through technology and innovation and measures to increase energy efficiency. The leaders also considered ways to deepen G-7 collaboration to ensure energy markets are open and transparent, energy infrastructure is developed and modernized to bring energy to markets, and energy sources are developed responsibly.
Canada is pleased that the leaders also had the opportunity to discuss development challenges; specifically they discussed ways to accelerate efforts to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. In 2010, Canada focused its efforts on the launch of the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, which aims to save the lives of 1.3 million children and 64,000 mothers around the world. In an effort to accelerate momentum on this initiative, Canada held a Summit on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Toronto from May 28 to 30, 2014. The Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Summit gathered leaders, experts, global activists and policy-makers to build political momentum to ensure that the health of mothers and children remains a continued global priority, including as a prominent part of the post-2015 development agenda. Carrying forward this momentum, Canada encouraged other G-7 leaders to increase efforts on the commitment it made through the Muskoka Initiative.
Building on Previous Summits
Since the 2013 Summit in Lough Erne, the G-7 has made significant progress in implementing the Lough Erne 3Ts agenda (trade, transparency and tax). On trade, G-7 members were active proponents of renewing the G-20 standstill commitment to refrain from erecting protectionist measures. The renewal of the standstill ensures that the world’s largest economies keep their markets open for business. G-7 members also actively contributed to the World Trade Organization negotiations in Bali, which delivered a strong trade package that could stimulate world trade by as much as US$1 trillion. Canada and Europe also helped contribute to increased trade by reaching an agreement in principle on the key elements of the Canada-EU Trade Agreement.
On transparency, Canada fulfilled its Open Data pledge, releasing over 190,000 government data sets to the public. Canada is also making progress on its G-8 Action Plan on Transparency of Corporations and Trusts, having launched public consultations on corporate transparency and beneficial ownership as part of a broader public consultation on the Canada Business Corporations Act. Canada is also on track to develop a new money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessment framework by 2014-2015, as per its commitment. Canada has also made progress towards enhancing transparency in the extractive sector. Having concluded public consultations on mandatory reporting requirements, Canada is now in the process of developing a reporting regime consistent with international standards.
On tax, Canada is participating in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development negotiations to bring forward concrete recommendations to address tax avoidance profit shifting. Canada is also helping developing countries build their tax collection capacity.
Canada is also pleased to see continued G-7 focus on previous Summit commitments, including the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition which seeks to achieve sustained and inclusive agricultural growth and raise 50 million people out of poverty, and the Deauville Partnership, which is an international effort launched by the G-8 at Deauville in 2011 to support countries in the Arab world engaged in transitions toward free, democratic and tolerant societies.