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Telfs-Buchen, Austria (CNN) President Joe Biden may be abroad in the Bavarian Alps, but the political division and bad mood he left behind will be hard to ignore when this year’s Group of 7 summit begins.

Rising costs, fueled in part by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, will be central to Sunday’s agenda, with leaders simultaneously working to maintain their pressure on Moscow while looking for ways to ease price spikes that have cost Russia politically. both of them.

That could prove to be a challenging task. Russian energy bans have contributed to a surge in world oil prices, but leaders are loathe to ease sanctions they believe are having an effect on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s economy. One area in which they have announced action: a ban on imports of new Russian gold.

“This is a key export, a key source of revenue, a key alternative to Russia, in terms of its ability to transact in the global financial system. Taking this step removes that ability,” a senior administration official said.

The ruling highlighted the divisions that roil American politics and institutions, which have acted as a troubling subtext for leaders watching Biden’s attempts to restore American leadership.

Here are several things to watch for at Sunday’s G7 summit:

Finding balance

Biden and other G7 leaders will discuss ways to punish Russia while still managing a shaky global economy during their first day of talks Sunday in the Bavarian Alps. Read also : Secretary Antony J. Blink in a Press Release – United States Department of State. The talks will produce some announcements and “muscle movements,” according to a senior White House official.

“A big focus of the G7 and the leaders will be, you know, not only how to manage the challenges in the global economy as a result of Mr. Putin’s war, but also how to continue to hold Mr. Putin accountable and to make sure that he is subject to to costs and consequences for what he is doing,” said John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, as Biden flew to Europe.

Biden’s first engagement on Sunday will be a bilateral meeting with the summit’s host, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, followed by the inaugural G7 session focused on global economic problems that have been exacerbated by the Ukraine war.

“I think leaders will look at ways to do two things: One, continue to hold Mr. Putin accountable and increase the costs and consequences of his war on him and his economy,” Kirby said. “And two, minimize as much as possible the effect of rising oil prices and the way it has weaponized energy on nations, particularly on the continent but also around the world.”

That balance will define this year’s G7, as the leaders work to maintain their pressure campaign on Putin while also dealing with rising inflation that has cost some leaders at home politically.

The leaders have agreed to announce an import ban on new gold from Russia, Biden said on Twitter Sunday morning. Gold is Russia’s second largest export after energy.

Biden has withstood some of the toughest blows as he has seen his approval ratings drop amid rising prices.

“It is very possible that there is a growing pressure in American politics, in the sense that some people in the primaries that we have already seen said that I do not care about Ukraine. What matters is the cost of living,” a European official said earlier. from this. week trip. “And if the president did get a bounce in the polls because of his leadership in Ukraine, that will dissipate very quickly. So there will be that effect.”

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Division back home

Biden declared Friday that the Supreme Court’s conservative majority “made America an outlier among the world’s developed nations” by stripping the country of the right to abortion.

Two days later, he will come face to face with the leaders of those nations in the Bavarian Alps, leaving behind a rapidly dividing country whose fractious politics have drawn the world’s concern. On the same subject : Lake County Music Guide – 6.23.33 – The Bloom.

The White House does not believe that the ruling or the fractures that now divide the United States are taken into account in discussions of Biden.

“There are real national security issues here that need to be discussed and the president is not at all concerned that the Supreme Court decision is going to eliminate that at all,” Kirby said.

Yet four of the six fellow leaders Biden will join in Germany found the ruling monumental enough to weigh on their own.

“I have to tell you that I think this is a huge step backwards,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. It’s a “devastating setback,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. French President Emmanuel Macron and Scholz were also critical.

Whether the ruling surfaces in Biden’s private discussions remains to be seen. But the fundamentally changed and divided country he left behind will never be far from his mind as he represents it on the world stage.

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Challenging China

At last year’s G7 summit on the Cornish coast of England, Biden pressed his fellow leaders to include tough new language condemning China’s human rights violations in a final statement. See the article : Democracy is falling apart with one of the fastest growing political parties: Asia America. Before the document, the group had at times heated talks behind closed doors about their collective approach to China.

The topic can spark tense conversations, as some European leaders do not necessarily share Biden’s view of China as an existential threat. However, the president has repeatedly made it clear that he hopes to persuade other leaders to take a tougher line. And Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has amplified the president’s warnings of autocracies against democracies, which the president often does.

On Sunday afternoon, Biden is expected to unveil, along with other leaders, an infrastructure investment program targeting low- and middle-income countries designed to compete with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Beijing has invested billions in building roads, railways and ports around the world to forge new trade links and diplomatic ties. Biden has launched a similar program in the past, calling it Build Back Better World.

But with that name apparently retired, the White House is renewing the effort in Germany.

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