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Oct. 27, 2021, 9:45 a.m. EDT

Italy hosts a climate-focused G-20 as geopolitics shift

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U.S. President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron have spoken twice by telephone since the tiff and are expected to meet privately in Rome.

Macron is aiming to secure U.S. backing for “the establishment of a stronger European defense, complementary to NATO and contributing to global security,” the presidential Elysee Palace said.

Macron has not spoken with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison since France’s submarine sale went south, however, and it’s not clear if the two will meet in Rome.

Carlo Altomonte, a professor of European economics at Milan’s Bocconi University, said the U.S.-British-Australian deal was clear evidence of shifting strategic priorities and attention to the Indo-Pacific region to counter China’s increased assertiveness, in this case at the expense of Washington’s traditional European allies.

“This in a way obliges the European Union to decide, autonomously, a series of local geopolitical questions” at the G-20 level and beyond that until now had long included Washington as the heavyweight partner, Altomonte said.

Turkey, one of the G-20 members, was in a position to cast a pall over the upcoming meeting when it threatened last week to expel the ambassadors of 10 Western nations over their support for a jailed activist. Four of the threatened envoys hailed from G-20 nations Germany, France, Canada and the U.S.

The G-20 also include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the European Union. Spain holds a permanent guest seat.

Italian Premier Mario Draghi, who helped save the euro with his now-famous promise to do “whatever it takes,” will have his hands full trying to steer the meeting to nudge some solid climate commitments ahead of Glasgow while negotiating a new era for European multilateralism.

“Not ‘whatever it takes,’ but I think he’ll try to point to the strategic points for Europe, and how Europe can play a role in this mess,” newspaper columnist Franco said.

Read on: U.S. envoy John Kerry says countries of the world must break ‘mutual suicide pact’ and take decisive climate action

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