Merkel pitches for inclusive growth amid anti-G20 protests

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the G20 summit in Hamburg on July 7-8 will delve into issues of distribution of wealth and consumption of resources. Germany is, meanwhile, bracing for a major protest march against the summit.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Oxfam's Big Heads depict G20 leaders take part in protests ahead of the upcoming G20 summit in Hamburg.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that leaders will have to focus on sustainable and inclusive economic growth rather than their own prosperity, even as anti-globalisation protesters marched on Sunday in Hamburg against this week's G20 summit. 

In her weekly podcast, Merkel said that this year's G20 summit will delve into issues championed by protesters such as distribution of wealth and consumption of resources - alongside related issues like climate change, free markets, consumer protection and upholding social standards.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched against the meeting in the rain in Hamburg in a prelude to the July 7-8 gathering, where 21,000 police from across Germany will protect the meetings of the world's 20 largest economies.

It's not only going to be about (economic) growth but rather sustainable growth. We've got to have a 'win-win' situation for everyone. The issues obviously revolve around: how do we achieve inclusive or sustainable growth? — German Chancellor Angela Merkel

People in boats take part in protests ahead of the upcoming G20 summit in Hamburg (Reuters)

Sabotage during G20 meeting?

The German authorities are bracing for trouble in Hamburg, worried that the protests could turn violent as they did outside a G8 summit in Genoa, Italy in 2001 when one person was shot dead and hundreds injured.

The German Federal Crime Office warned that violent G20 opponents could carry out arson and sabotage at infrastructure targets such as the Hamburg harbour and airport, newspaper Welt am Sonntag said on Sunday.

Sunday's demonstration was organised by a group called "Protest Wave G20", with 50,000 to 100,000 protesters expected on an afternoon march through the city centre. Other demonstrations this week are called "Welcome to Hell" and "G20 Not Welcome".

Without mentioning the protests that have German security officials worried about possible acts of sabotage this week in the country's second-largest city, Merkel noted that these non-traditional issues were forced onto the G20 agenda.

The G20 meeting follows a G7 summit in Sicily a month ago that exposed deep divisions between other Western countries and Trump on climate change, trade and migration. Trump later announced he was pulling the US out of a landmark agreement to combat climate change reached in 2015 in Paris.