PM statement to the House of Commons on G7 and NATO: 16 June 2021

LONDON (June 16, 2021)—Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a statement to the House of Commons on the G7 and NATO summits.

Mr. Speaker, with permission I will make a statement on the G7 summit I chaired in Carbis Bay and the Nato summit in Brussels.

Let me first thank the people of Cornwall, Carbis Bay, St Ives, for welcoming the representatives of the world’s most powerful democracies to their home, an enchanting setting for the first gathering of G7 leaders in two years, the first since the pandemic began, and President Biden’s first overseas visit since taking office.

Our aim was to demonstrate how the world’s democracies are ready and able to address the world’s toughest problems, offering solutions and backing them up with concrete action.

The G7 will combine our strengths and expertise to defeat Covid, minimise the risk of another pandemic, and build back better, fairer and greener, for the benefit of all.

Alongside our partners, the G7 is now engaged in the biggest and fastest vaccination programme in history, designed to protect the whole world by the end of next year.

My fellow leaders agreed to supply developing countries with another billion doses – either directly or through other channels – of which 100 million will come from the UK.

The world’s most popular vaccine was developed here and the express purpose of the deal between the British Government, Oxford University and AstraZeneca was to create an inoculation that would be easy to store, quick to distribute and available at cost price – or zero profit – to protect as many people as humanly possible.

The results are becoming clearer every day: over 500 million Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered in 168 countries so far, accounting for 96 percent of the doses distributed to developing nations by COVAX, the global alliance that the UK helped to establish.

With every passing hour, people are being protected across the world – and lives saved – by the formidable expertise that the UK was able to assemble.

But all the efforts of this country and of many others, no matter how generous and far-sighted, would be futile in the face of another lethal virus that might escape our efforts.

So the G7 has agreed to support a Global Pandemic Radar to spot new pathogens before they begin to spread, allowing immediate containment, and in case a new virus gets through anyway, our scientists will embark on a mission to develop the ability to create new vaccines, treatments and tests in just 100 days, compared to the 300 required for Covid.

Even as we persevere against this virus, my fellow leaders share my determination to look beyond today’s crisis and build back better, greener and fairer.

If we can learn anything from this tragedy, we have at least been given a chance to break with the past and do things better and do them differently.

This time, as our economies rebound, we must avoid the mistakes we made after the financial crash of 2008 and ensure that everyone benefits from the recovery.

The surest way of our future prosperity is to design fair and open rules and standards for the new frontiers of the global economy.

So the G7 will devise a fairer tax system for global corporations, reversing the race to the bottom, and strive to ensure that new technology serves as a force for prosperity and hope, strengthening freedom and openness.

My fellow leaders will act as one against an increasing injustice – the denial of an education to millions of girls across the world – by working to get another 40 million girls into school by 2025.

I am happy to say that the G7 agreed to provide more than half of the $5 billion sought by the Global Partnership for Education to transform the prospects of millions of children in developing countries, and £430 million will come from the UK.

Our duty to future generations compels us to protect our planet from catastrophic climate change and every country in the G7 has promised to achieve net zero by 2050 – wiping out our contribution to global warming from that date onwards – and to achieve that target we will halve our carbon emissions by 2030, compared with 2010 levels.

The G7 resolved to end any government support for unabated coal-fired power generation overseas, and increase and improve climate finance between now and 2025.

We will consecrate 30 percent of our land and sea to nature, protecting vast areas in all their abundance and diversity of life, giving millions of species the chance to recover from the ravages of recent decades.

And it is precisely because safeguarding our planet requires global action that the G7 will offer developing countries a new partnership – the Build Back Better World – to help construct new and clean and green infrastructure in a way that is transparent and environmentally responsible.

There is no contradiction between averting climate change and creating highly skilled and well paid jobs, both in our country and around the world.

We can and will achieve both, by means of a green industrial revolution at home and green infrastructure abroad. I was honoured to welcome our friends, the leaders of India, South Korea, Australia and South Africa, as guests in Carbis Bay, virtually of course in the case of the prime minister of India.

And on Monday, Scott Morrison and I were delighted to reach a free trade agreement between the UK and Australia, creating fantastic opportunities for both our countries, eliminating tariffs on all British exports – whether Scotch whisky or cars from the Midlands and making it easier for young British people to live and work in Australia. We’ve also included protections for British farmers over the next 15 years and unprecedented protections and provisions for animal welfare, and this House will of course be able to scrutinise the agreement, once the texts are finalised.

This is exactly how Global Britain will help to generate jobs and opportunities at home and level up our whole United Kingdom.

Our agreement with Australia is a vital step towards the even greater prize of the UK joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a $9 trillion free trade area embracing the fastest growing economies of the world. Together with the G7, the countries represented at Carbis Bay comprise a Democratic XI, free nations living on five continents, spanning different faiths and cultures, but united by a shared belief in liberty, democracy and human rights.

Those ideals were encapsulated in the Atlantic Charter, agreed by Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt in 1941, when Britain was the only surviving democracy in Europe and the very existence of our freedom was in peril. The courage and valour of millions of people ensured our ideals survived and flourished.

Eighty years on, President Biden and I met within sight of HMS Prince of Wales, the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier and the linear successor of the battleship on which the original Charter was devised, and agreed a New Atlantic Charter, encompassing the full breadth of British and American cooperation in science, technology, trade and global security.

The surest guarantee of our security is NATO, which protects a billion people in 30 countries, and the summit in Brussels on Monday agreed the wholesale modernisation of the alliance to meet new dangers, including in space and cyberspace, reflecting the priorities of our own Integrated Review of foreign and defence policy. Britain has the biggest defence budget in Europe, comfortably exceeding the NATO target of 2 percent of national income.

We have committed our nuclear deterrent and our cyber capabilities to the alliance and we contribute more troops than any other country to NATO’s deployment to protect Poland and the Baltic states.

We do more for the security of our continent than any other European power, showing that we mean it when we say that an attack on any NATO ally shall be considered an attack on all, a pledge that has kept the peace for over 70 years, and which President Biden reaffirmed on behalf of the United States.

Together these two summits showed the enduring strength of the Atlantic Alliance and the bonds we treasure with kindred democracies across the globe.

They provided the best possible foundation for COP26 in Glasgow in November, when the UK will bring the whole world together in a common cause.

They demonstrated how Global Britain creates jobs at home, while striving in unison with our friends for a greener, safer and fairer world.

Mr Speaker, I commend this statement to the House.

Published 16 June 2021
 
 
 
Photo: Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement in the House of Commons on Queen’s Speech.

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