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Shaping Up Successfully:
The Performance of the G7 Brussels Summit at Its Start

John Kirton
Director, G8 Research Group
June 4, 2014, 20h00

As the G7 Brussels Summit got underway at 8.00 pm on Wednesday, June 4, it was already shaping up to be at least a substantial and probably a strong success.

On the central issue of material support for a Ukraine fighting to preserve its unity and democracy in its eastern regions, and for its worried neighbours near an expansionist Russia, U.S. president Barack Obama produced a new $1 billion in a European Reassurance Initiative of military support. Announced by the president on June 3 in Poland on his way to Brussels, the money would support more military deployments in NATO's eastern members, more naval operations in the Baltic and Black Seas and, importantly, more military support for a Ukraine already at war with Russia, for a Moldavia worried about Russian military expansion from its Transnistria enclave, and for a Georgia whose Russian-occupied Abkhazia territory was already in state of revolt against Russian rule. In the same spirit, Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, also travelling to Brussels via Poland, announced on June 4 that he would send 75 Canadian troops to Lithuania.

On the related issue of general financial support for Ukraine, a consensus was solidifying to announce at the Brussels Summit a donors conference where a larger group of countries could raise more money for Ukraine.

On the broader issue of development, which the Brussels leaders would address over lunch at their lasts session on June, Harper had started the ball rolling by announcing on May 29th $3.5 billion in new money to help meet Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 on maternal, newborn and child health. These were the two MDGs that were far from being met by their fast approaching due date of 2015. As Harper said he would encourage his G7 colleagues to join in his strategically timed initiative, the prospect was that more money would be raised during the summit itself.

On the issue of sanctions against Russia, seen as central by the media and the markets, further success seemed in store, Just before the summit, German chancellor Angela Merkel, seen by many as reluctant to provoke Russian president Vladimir Putin, announced to her legislature her conditions for imposing the next stage of sanctions. This would be done, she said, unless Russia stopped supporting separatist violence and intimidation in Ukraine, had the separatists hand over their weapons, and had them leave the buildings they occupied. These statements showed that she accepted the fact that Russia was behind the attacks and insurrection in eastern Ukraine. As Putin was unlikely to meet these conditions, all G7 leaders were likely to soon move to the next, more punitive, sanctions stage.

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