The G-20 is getting started. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni was welcomed at the Palam area base on Friday by Shobha Karandlaje, India’s Minister of Agriculture, and Vincenzo De Luca, Italy’s Ambassador to India. The G-20 Summit in New Delhi will begin tomorrow. Still, talks between the countries for the final declaration are underway, and the resistances around shaping the final statement are already on display.
- One is condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine: G-7 countries are ready to work on the language of last year’s G-20 Summit (when the term “war” was used against the wishes of Russia and China, with “condemnation” by the “majority of members”) without altering the substance.
- Other dossiers that are fuelling divisions are those concerning fossil fuels and debt restructuring.
The agenda: PM Meloni is expected to hold a number of bilaterals on Saturday, including one with her Chinese counterpart Li Qiang and one with the host, Indian PM Narendra Modi. She had met with the latter on the sidelines of the 2022 G20 Summit and in March, during the Italian PM’s mission to New Delhi, when the two elevated bilateral relations to a strategic partnership.
- As PM Meloni had promised back then, Rome and its allies are committed to ensuring the summit’s success by fully supporting New Delhi across the themes that will be tackled.
- Climate, energy, food security, women’s empowerment, health, artificial intelligence, and digitalisation are among the topics on the agenda, as well as migration and the central issue of the war in Ukraine.
Focus on Africa. Among the expected outcomes (barring last-minute vetoes) is the entry of the African Union as a permanent member of the G20, something Italy (and PM Meloni) have long worked towards. During May’s G-7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan, the Italian leader invited her peers to support the AU’s request to join the Twenty.
- The African bloc will also be invited to next year’s Rome-led G-7. Other guests could include India itself, South Korea, and Australia, consistent with Italy’s commitment to the common Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific destinies.
- The Italian presidency is set to be defined by a focus on the Global South, with climate, energy, migration and food as crucial issues – all of which will come to the fore with the Italian government’s upcoming unveiling of the Mattei Plan.
Twenty plus Seven. The latter is the common thread linking the Indian G-20 and the upcoming Italian G-7, as confirmed by Rome’s achievement of committing the smaller forum to focus on stability and prosperity in Africa and the Mediterranean – through an accepted amendment to the G-7’s final declaration, the only one dealing with these matters.
- PM Meloni and her British counterpart Rishi Sunak met on the eve of the summit in New Delhi. They spoke about Africa and migrations, as well as Ukraine and artificial intelligence.
Mind the economics. Italian Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti is also in New Delhi. He is in for bilateral meetings with counterparts from the United States (Janet Yellen, whom he met on Friday), Germany (Christian Lindner), France (Bruno Le Maire) and Qatar (Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari).
- At the top of their collective agenda is the reform of the international financial architecture (World Bank, International Monetary Fund and multilateral development banks), which the White House will insist upon.
- The Italian line is clear: donated resources must be concentrated on the poorest nations, especially in Africa, allocating the already available resources more effectively.