US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill greeted Group of Seven leaders on a beach in Cornwall for the official start of the summit on Friday.
The Bidens held hands as they walked along the boardwalk on the sand. The president wore a black suit with a blue tie while the first lady wore a red dress with matching heels.
Biden cracked jokes with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, then put his arm around French President Emmanuel Macron. Johnson gave a fist bump to Jill as his spouse Carrie Johnson and the US president laughed. Other leaders also fist bumped each other.
‘Everybody in the water,’ Biden joked to reporters during the greetings.
Jill, who donned the red dress after changing from a white dress and a pink blazer, said, ‘I feel like I’m at a wedding’.
The leaders gathered at the beach for a ‘family photo’ that included Biden, Johnson, Macron, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President of the European Council Charles Michel, Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The opening greetings and socially-distanced photo on the beach preceded a session titled ‘Building Back Better From Covid-19’, which incorporates Biden’s ‘Building Back Better’ slogan. The opening day of the gathering will also include a reception with members of the British royal family.
Biden has made it clear he plans to rebuild relationships between the US and its European allies after relations were ‘frayed’ under his predecessor Donald Trump.
While walking away from the family photo, Biden was asked by a reporter what his message to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will be. Biden will meet Putin on Wednesday for a summit in Geneva following his meetings with G7 and NATO leaders.
‘I’ll tell you after I deliver it,’ Biden replied.
During the three-day G7 summit in Carbis Bay, the world leaders are set to pledge 1billion coronavirus shots for the world. Half of the billion shots will come from the US and 100million will come from the UK. Their plan is to ‘vaccinate the world’ by the end of next year.
‘We’re going to help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside our global partners,’ Biden said on Thursday.
In addition, the G7 leaders are expected to officially endorse a minimum global tax rate of at least 15% on corporations. Biden had been pushing the initiative and it was endorsed by finance ministers of the member nations last weekend.
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