German Chancellor Angela Merkel today celebrated the multilateral spirit of the G20 virtual summit, held yesterday and today virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, while insisting on the importance of ensuring global access to a vaccine against covid-19.
In a press conference with Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, Merkel stressed that a final statement “really very good and substantial” has been achieved despite the “adverse conditions” due to the pandemic and the “spirit of multilateral cooperation” that distills, “very important in these times,” he said.
“We have really contributed in difficult times to multilateralism and the struggle and global responsibility in the face of challenges play an important role,” he said.
He acknowledged “nuances” in the various contributions, but noted that the statement was “widely agreed upon unanimously” and there were no major problems.
THE PANDEMIC, A LESSON FOR GREATER SUSTAINABILITY
It was interesting to see the importance given, unlike previous summits, to the theme of the environment, sustainability and life in harmony with nature, he stressed.
“There is a clear will to learn from the pandemic that economic activity must be more sustainable, and that is a notable change in the main points of debate compared to five years ago,” he said.
He recalled that the pandemic is “a global challenge to which only all of us can respond” and in that sense said to support the proposal of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, for a global agreement to fight the pandemic “as a lesson learned” from what that is being lived now.
He noted that during the summit the issue of justice in relation to the fight against the pandemic was addressed and he referred to the COVAX platform, created with the aim of guaranteeing the equal supply of the vaccine to all countries.
He stressed that “considerable funds are still lacking,” but insisted that the most important thing is that this instrument begins negotiations with the manufacturers of potential vaccines with the money it already has, since the objective is to reach an agreement also for developing countries .
In this sense, she said she was “somewhat concerned” by the fact that negotiations in this direction have not yet started.
An issue to which much attention was paid as is also reflected in the statement is the relationship of the pandemic with economic issues, he said, noting that for the first time in a long time there has been an increase in poverty in the world, which is necessary to face.
COORDINATED RESPONSE TO THE PANDEMIC TO EXIT FROM THE CRISIS
The Finance Minister, for his part, expressed his satisfaction with the “very fruitful” discussions and welcomed the fact that the G20 has mobilized “very, very large sums” to guarantee employment and jobs in times of crisis.
He spoke of a “coordinated action” of “great importance for the economic response to the pandemic.”
Thanks to the development of joint aid programs and the reaction of international organizations to the crisis, “there is a possibility that we are not facing a difficult long-term economic situation” and of a “good way out” of the crisis, he was convinced, especially if an equitable distribution of vaccines is achieved.