G7 Summit 2018 LIVE UPDATES: G7 becomes G4 as Europe breaks off to conspire against Trump | World | News

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G7 leaders from the group of the seven richest nations are holding a dramatic showdown with the firebrand Republican president as they pressure him to lift levies on steel and aluminium.

Theresa May is joining forces with EU member leaders, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and new Italian PM Giuseppe Conte in a meeting to discuss how they plan to tackle the threat from Mr Trump before the summit gets started.

Mrs May looks set to play a diplomatic go-between role as she tries to keep tensions from simmering over.

Last night she called from restraint from the European Union, which is set to unveil its own list of tariffs on US exports in retaliation.

But on Friday morning, the PM was reportedly denied a bilateral meeting with the US leader. Number 10 refused to say if the PM had requested a meeting.

Asked if Mrs May believed she had been snubbed, a spokeswoman replied: “No. She will be working alongside him today in many of the working sessions and she obviously spoke to him earlier this week, and will be seeing him for his visit next month.

“So, she has had lots of opportunity to talk to him. They have a good working relationship. She speaks to him regularly and she’s looking forward to seeing him next month.”

The confrontation threatens to rupture a body that during its 43-year history has traditionally sought to find consensus on the economy and other issues.

And on Friday German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier called for Europe to remain unified in the face of rising trade tensions with the US, saying it was unclear how a summit of the Group of Seven rich nations would end.

He told broadcaster ZDF: “We have a serious situation, not just since last night or this morning, but rather the entire last few weeks.”

Mr Altmaier also underlined the importance of European unity on free trade and economic interests, especially since domestic debate was continuing in the US about punitive sanctions imposed by Mr Trump on G7 allies.

Follow our live coverage below. 

Reporting taken over by Thomas Mackie

1:30am: Merkel says the EU have agreed the time is not right for the G7 to readmit Russia

Ms Merkel said: “Here we all agreed that a return of Russia to the G7-format summits cannot happen until substantial progress has been made in connection with the problems with Ukraine.

“That was the common view.”

12:30am: France’s Emmanuel Macron says ‘”things moving forward” after trade dispute

Mr Macron said “things were moving forward” as he held talks with Donald Trump that focused on the US president’s decision to slap tariffs on America’s allies.  

He said: “I think we had a very open and direct discussion this afternoon, we’ve always had this kind of discussion.

“And I think on trade, there is a critical path, there is a way to progress altogether.”

He added: “We had a very direct and open discussion and I saw the willingness on all the sides to find agreement and have a win-win approach for our people, our workers and our middle classes.”

11:00pm: Donald Tusk has slammed Donald Trump for undermining the global order the US helped to create 

At a G7 summit already marked by mistrust and bad feeling, Donald Tusk said the “rules-based international order is being challenged”.

He said: “Not by the usual suspects, but by its main architect and guarantor, the US We will not stop trying to convince our American friends and President Trump that undermining this order makes no sense at all, because it would only play into the hands of those who seek a new, post-West order, where liberal democracy and fundamental freedoms would cease to exist.”

Reporting by Joey Millar

9.20pm: Vow to crack down on foreign meddling in elections

G7 leaders have agreed to share information between themselves and work with internet service providers and social media companies to thwart foreign meddling in elections in their countries, a draft summit commitment said.

The draft, seen by Reuters, also says the G7 agreed to ensure high transparency of funding for political parties and all political advertising, especially during election campaigns.

The draft appeared to be a thinly veiled reference to allegations by the United States and the governments of some European Union countries that Russia interfered in their elections. Moscow has denied the allegations.

“Foreign actors seek to undermine our democratic societies and institutions, our electoral processes, our sovereignty and our security,” the G7 leaders said in the draft.

8.20pm: Unity, what unity?

G7 leaders are highly unlikely to issue a final communique when a two-day summit in Canada ends on Saturday because of a lack of consensus among the group, who are deeply divided over trade issues.

Several G7 officials told Reuters that a communique – which must be agreed by the leaders of Canada, Britain, the United States, Germany, France, Japan and Italy – will be near impossible to achieve and Canada will issue a chair’s summary of the meeting instead.

Angela Merkel said the lack of final statement could be seen as a display of honesty, with the leaders accepting they cannot always agree.

7:10pm: Smile! Leaders pose for photos

G7 and EU leaders have posed for their customary group photo, with Mr Trump taking centre-stage. 

Theresa May was placed second-from-the-left, wedged by Mrs Merkel and Mr Tusk. 

The leaders portrayed a united front despite the summit being hit by division between the US and the other leaders. 

6.20pm: Merkel loves Markle

Angela Merkel has revealed she was enthralled by last month’s Royal Wedding.

The German Chancellor told Mrs May she watched the wedding between Meghan Markle and Prince Harry live.

A Downing Street spokesman said that the first thing the Chancellor mentioned as she sat down with Mrs may was her enthusiasm for the wedding.

He said: “The Chancellor raised it herself at the beginning of the meeting with the Prime Minister.

“She said she had watched the wedding on the television and how much she had enjoyed it.”

6.00pm: Russia G7 latest

Russia has dismissed concerns it may be accepted into a new G8 group, saying the country’s focus was elsewhere.

A Kremlin spokesman said: “Russia is focused on other formats, apart from the G7.”

It comes after the UK and France said the US’s proposal should be treated with serious scepticism.

However new Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte struck a contrarian note, saying Russia should be readmitted.

5.10pm: May issues olive branch to US

The UK and the US remain good friends who can talk frankly with each other when they disagree, Prime Minister Theresa May has said.

She said: “The United States and the United Kingdom are good friends. President Trump and I work together.

“Yes, sometimes we disagree on issues but when we disagree because of the nature of our relationship we’re able to have that frank and open discussion.”

G7 EPA

Protestors have set a sofa alight outside the G7 summit in Canada

G7 summit GETTY

G7 summit live: World leaders are set to showdown with Trump over his trade war

4.40pm: Juncker promises Trump ‘facts and figures’

Jean-Claude Juncker has said “facts and figures” prove the US is not being treated unfairly when it comes to trade – despite Mr Trump’s complaints.

He said: “When it comes to trade – the positions are very clear. The President of the United States thinks that the U.S. has been treated in an unfair way by Europe and by others, and the others think that this is not the case.

“We will explain this through facts and figures, that this is not the right view one should have on this topic.”

4.20pm: EU family photo

The G7’s European leaders have posed for a group photo in another bid to present a united front against the US and its escalating trade war.

A beaming Mrs May posed alongside Mrs Merkel, Mr Macron and Italian PM Giuseppe Conte this afternoon.

Also in the picture was President of the European Council Donald Tusk and the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

4.10pm: Trump proposal ‘incoherent’

A French presidential source has also hit out at Mr Trump’s Russia proposal.

They said: “As a reminder, the latest country to have imposed individual economic sanctions is the United States, so this proposal doesn’t seem coherent.

President Emmanuel Macron’s aim is to present a united European front at the G7, the source said, adding that he aimed to get references to international trade rules, WTO reform, the Paris climate agreement in the final statement, as well as to reach consensus on Iran and Libya.

3.52pm: Tusk admits USA ‘worries’

Donald Tusk has admitted Mr Trump and his US administration are worrying him before admitting ultimately the EU can do nothing to “change the US’ mind”.

He said: “Our discussions here is Charlevoix will be far from easy.

“It is evident that the American president and the rest of the group continue to disagree on trade, climate change and the Iran nuclear deal.

“What worries me most is that the rules-based international order is being challenged.

“Quite surprisingly not by the usual suspects, but by its main architect and guarantor – the United States. Naturally we cannot force the U.S. to change its mind.”

3.40pm: Trump’s Russia proposal panned

A UK source has said Mr Trump’s attempts to reintroduce Russia to the G7 – recreating the G8 – cannot begin until the Kremlin changes its ways.

The source said: “We should remind ourselves why the G8 became the G7 – it was after Russia illegally annexed Crimea.

“Since then we have seen malign activity from Russia in a whole variety of ways, including on the streets of Salisbury in the UK.”

3.13pm: ‘Europe united!’

Jean-Claude Juncker has issued a verbal broadside at Donald Trump, hitting back at the US president’s ‘America first’ policy.

Speaking at a press conference with Donald Tusk, Mr Juncker said: “Not only America first, but also Europe united!”

Next up is Emmanuel Macron, who is expected to speak at 3.45pm. Will he also hit out at the US president?

More live updates to follow to follow… 

G7GETTY

Donald Trump arriving at Canadian Forces Base Bagotville in Canada for the G7 Summit

G7 summit REUTERS

G7 summit live updates: Donald Trump leaves for Canada

But on Friday morning, the PM was reporteldy denied a bilateral-meeting with the US leader. 

Number 10 refused to say if the PM had requested a meeting. 

Asked if Mrs May believed she had been snubbed, a spokeswoman replied: “No. She will be working alongside him today in many of the working sessions and she obviously spoke to him earlier this week, and will be seeing him for his visit next month.

“So, she has had lots of opportunity to talk to him.”

“They have a good working relationship. She speaks to him regularly and she’s looking forward to seeing him next month.”

Riot police have been pictured in the streets surrounding Quebec as campaigners gather pace in protest against the two-day summit. 

G7GETTY

French president Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Theresa May at the G7 summit

The confrontation threatens to rupture a body that during its 43-year history has traditionally sought to find consensus on the economy and other issues.

And on Friday German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier called for Europe to remain unified in the face of rising trade tensions with the US, saying it was unclear how a summit of the Group of Seven rich nations would end.

He told broadcaster ZDF: “We have a serious situation, not just since last night or this morning, but rather the entire last few weeks.” 

Mr Altmaier also underlined the importance of European unity on free trade and economic interests, especially since domestic debate was continuing in the US about punitive sanctions imposed by Mr Trump on G7 allies.  

G7 summit REUTERS

G7 Summit: Justin Trudeau meets EU bosses before the two-day summit

Mr Trump today resumed his tirade against Canada and “unfair trade deals” with G7 countries early.

He tweeted early Friday morning before he was to leave Washington for Quebec saying: “Looking forward to straightening out unfair Trade Deals with the G-7 countries. If it doesn’t happen, we come out even better!” 

It comes just a day after President Trump launched an attack on host leader Canadian PM Justin Trudeau on Thursday night, describing him as “indignant”, with officials predicting the mood is likely to be exceptionally tense.

A Canadian official said: “There will be some serious disagreements on a lot of things.”

Mr Trump also said Russia should be attending a Group of Seven nations meeting, as he prepared to fly to Canada to attend part of the three-day conference. 

But Russia responded with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying: “Russia is focused on other formats, apart from the G7,” accprding to Sputnik. 

G7 summit GETTY

G7 Summit live updates: Riot police are on the streets as campaigners protest against the Summit

Although Mr Trump insists the tariffs are necessary to protect US industry, Canada and EU chiefs have denounced them as illegal.

Mr Trump’s decision to impose 25 percent levy on all imports of steel and 10 percent on aluminium imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico sparked fears of an all-out trade war.

French President Emmanuel Macron called for leaders to be civil at the summit on Thursday.

But he is clearly losing patience with the US President, suggesting the other six members of the G7 could form their own grouping if necessary.

While Prime Minister Theresa May British Prime Minister Theresa May took a more measured tone, as she called for any response to be proportionate and legal.

G7 summit EPA

G7 Summit: Macron is losing patience with Donald Trump

But Mr Trump showed no sign of backing down on Thursday, first taking to Twitter to accuse both France and Canada of imposing massive tariffs on US goods and then accusing Trudeau of “being so indignant.”

Canadian bosses hit back saying that “the prime minister and the president have very frank, direct, candid, honest conversations”.

The official said Mr Trudeau and Mr Trump are due to meet on Friday “and they will have lots to talk about”.

The White House subsequently announced the president would be leaving the two-day summit four hours earlier on Saturday to fly to Singapore for a meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. 

By departing early, the US leader will miss talks about climate change and clean energy, and be out of the country by the time Mr Trudeau and other leaders begin closing news conferences likely to be laden with criticism of US trade policy.

Additional reporting by Rebecca Perring. 

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