Remarks by President Donald Tusk before the G7 summit in Italy

e are meeting here in Taormina as the G7 to discuss the most pressing global issues. There is no doubt that this will be the most challenging G7 summit in years. It is no secret that leaders who are meeting today, sometimes have very different positions on topics such as climate change and trade. But our role as the EU is to do everything to maintain the unity of the G7 on all fronts.

Most importantly, unity needs to be maintained when it comes to defending the rules-based international order. Each day we are confronted with these strategic global problems that pose a threat to peace and security in Europe, in Asia and in the Middle East. From the war in Syria and Russian aggression in Ukraine, to nuclear and ballistic missile tests in North Korea, and land reclamation and militarization in the South China Sea. If our group is not determined and united enough, the situation in the world can really get out of hand.

I expect that the G7 will demonstrate unity regarding the conflict in Ukraine. We fully support Ukraine’s independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty. A solution to this conflict can only be reached with the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. Since our last G7 summit in Japan we haven’t seen anything that would justify a change in our sanctions policy toward Russia. Therefore, I will appeal to the other G7 leaders to reconfirm this policy.

The G7 should also remain united when it comes to ending the brutality in Syria. We should be ready to increase our efforts to defeat terrorism in Syria, and to find a political settlement. A special responsibility rests on the shoulders of those who, like Iran and Russia, have become involved in the crisis and cooperate with the Assad regime. Instead of wasting time, they should use their influence to enact a real ceasefire, stop the use of chemical weapons and ensure safe and immediate humanitarian access to all the people in need.

Finally, let me say that we also need G7 unity in managing the migration crisis. This is a global challenge, but here in Sicily it is also a real, local problem. The EU’s goal has been to at least keep the current level of international cooperation in addressing this crisis. Whether we will succeed, remains an open question. Thank you.