G7 Summit: outcomes and challenges for the EU international agenda 2024-2029

15. 06. 2024
AUTHOR: Linda Kalcher and Sara Benedetti Michelangeli

The Borgo Egnazia Summit represented the first international occasion for global leaders to show commitment to the "UAE Consensus", agreed upon at 2023 United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the next steps on the phase-out of fossil fuels in their respective national contexts. While some progress was made, the Group of Seven (G7) has failed to provide the clear leadership that would have been needed to incentivise the Group of 20 (G20) and other countries to accelerate their energy transitions.

Submitting new 2035 climate plans by February 2025

The Climate, Energy, and Environment Ministerial meeting (April 2024 in Turin) had confirmed the submission of the new 20235 climate pledges (Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)) nine to 12 months before COP30 in November 2025. 

In the Leader’s final communique, the G7 fell short of committing to submit their NDC within the deadline or on time to act as "first movers". In the absence of a clear timeline for the European Union (EU), this jeopardises its climate-champion stance globally, meaning other countries can take the lead on the energy transition.   

Accelerating the energy transition

As agreed at COP28, G7 leaders committed to the achievement of a tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030. However, this pledge does not go hand-in-hand with a domestic renewable tripling capacity in any of the seven major economies. As a result, data shows that, altogether, the G7 countries now target a doubling instead of a tripling of renewables. On fossil fuel phase-out language, the G7 still allows for public investments in gas, with no reference to a halt on this front.

The lack of public commitments to an end-date for fossil fuels represents a two-fold challenge for the EU: on the one hand, European energy security could be in jeopardy again if fossil sources from third countries are not adequately replaced with domestic fossil-free energy. On the other hand, continuing to invest in gas would lower the just transition pathway of the EU. Therefore, an end-date is both a geoeconomic and a social tool for the EU energy transition.  

Relations with third countries 

On multilateral cooperation with third countries, the G7 conclusions have seen the birth of  the Energy for Growth Initiative in Africa to develop clean energy infrastructures and supply chains, the initiative including Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Republic of Congo and South Africa. 

Africa is a clear priority for the EU. However, given the constraints of limited resources present in the EU territory, prioritising international economic partnerships with geographically diffused third countries could mobilise flows of public and private finance, therefore scaling up investments for decarbonisation inside and outside the EU.

Irrespective of the G7 outcome, the EU has an opportunity to strengthen its geopolitical and geoeconomic stance in the next five years, using the new European Commission as a starting point to overhaul its international relations.

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