Boris Johnson has called on G7 leaders to not “repeat the mistakes” of the post-2008 financial crisis economic recovery, saying the post-pandemic recovery needs to be “uniform across all parts of societies”.
Johnson’s opening remarks before the first joint session of the G7 summit in Cornwall also saw him emphasise the need for the world’s biggest democracies to “make sure we learn the lessons from the pandemic and we need to make sure we don’t repeat some of the errors we doubtless made” during the past 18 months.
The three-day summit kicked off today with a series of bilaterals between different leaders, before they began the first joint meeting at around 2.50pm.
Johnson held one-on-one meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Candian Prime Minsiter Justin Trudeau and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi earlier today.
The Prime Minister said G7 countries needed to promote an economic recovery that ensures lower-income people are also able to benefit, unlike after the 2008 crisis.
Uneven economic recoveries in places like the UK and the US have been partly blamed on the rise of populist movements and discontent among the working classes.
“It is vital we don’t repeat the mistake of the last great crisis, the last great recession of 2008 when the recovery was not uniform across all parts of societies. What risks being a lasting scar is that I think inequalities may be entrenched,” Johnson said.
“We need to make sure as we recover we level up across our societies and build back better.”
He also called for the world to “build back better…in a more feminine way”.
This year’s summit is seen as an opportunity for the Prime Minister to present his vision of how the UK can remain an international player post-Brexit.
However, the summit got off to a somewhat rocky start after it was revealed by The Times on Thursday that UK-EU wrangling over the Northern Ireland Protocol led to an official rebuke to Lord David Frost by a top US diplomat.
Yael Lampert reportedly said that Frost had “inflamed tensions” in negotiations over checks on goods going between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
Emmanuel Macron then last night warned “nothing is negotiable” over the Northern Ireland Protocol, just 12 hours before he was due to arrive at the summit.
However, Johnson was all smiles when he met with Biden yesterday in an extended bilateral.
Biden said the pair “affirmed the special relationship between our people and renewed out commitment to the democratic values we share”.