The ambitious agenda for the upcoming two-day summit of G7 leaders in Germany includes everything from the Greek debt crisis to climate change.

Three days before the start of the June 7-8 summit, CBC's Margaret Evans sat down with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to see what progress she hopes will be made at the summit on the key issues the Group of Seven leaders will be tackling.

Greece's unresolved debt crisis looms especially large over the summit as creditors scramble to come up with a new repayment plan ahead of Friday, when Greece is due to make a €300 million ($422 million) payment to the IMF, so we began by asking Merkel how she will reassure her G7 partners that the German-led approach to the crisis is the right one and won't end with Greece's exit from the eurozone.

(Merkel's responses have been translated from German.)

Greek debt crisis

I will be only one of several Europeans represented at the G7 summit in Elmau. The negotiations with Greece are being led, above all, by the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank. So, this is not a German-dominated negotiating forum. It is these three institutions that are talking with Greece. 

But we all wish — politically speaking — that we get a result. Greece wishes to be part of the eurozone, but it must, of course, go through with the necessary reforms to make this happen. Otherwise, it will not be able to get back on a growth track.

But we'll be able to report that the three institutions are leading very intensive talks with Greece.   

Climate change 


German Chancellor Angela Merkel sat down with CBC's Margaret Evans on Thursday, three days before she hosts G7 leaders at the Elmau castle in Bavaria for a two-day summit. (CBC)

First, climate is one issue, an important issue, but, of course, the focus will also be on the global economy and foreign policy challenges. We will also be discussing global health and the empowerment of women. So, it's not only about climate, because the G7 are responsible for a large part of CO2 emissions, but we can't deal with the climate issue and meet the two-degree target [the  Copenhagen Accord commitment to keeping the global increase in temperature below two degrees]

 on our own, without emerging economies such as India and China.

It's a matter of two things. First, that we, certainly, once again commit to [providing] the financing for those suffering most from the impact of climate change. In Copenhagen [in 2009], we promised to make available €100 billion per year as of 2020, and we haven't yet reached this figure — we haven't yet succeeded in putting this sum together from public and private funds.

The second point is that we, as individual countries, set certain mitigation targets and commit to them, and Canada will also do this. Although, of course, oil, oilsands and other energy sources are still used there. Even Germany still uses coal. We can't stop using all of them [fossil fuels], but we have to set ambitious goals for the next few years.

Freezing out Russia

The G7 — and earlier, the G8 — were a group of countries that shared the same values with regard to freedom and democracy, and through the annexation of Crimea, Russia made it clear at a certain point that these values of keeping the peace, integrity of the borders of a country were not being respected.

'It is a pity that Russia is not there, but it was, in my view, unavoidable.' — German Chancellor Angela Merkel

So, it is a pity that Russia is not there, but it was, in my view, unavoidable. Nevertheless, we still have a lot of ways of talking with the Russian president. For example, the so-called Normandy Format, where Germany and France together with Russia and Ukraine discuss how to resolve the conflict in Ukraine.

I'd like to mention the [talks] involving the five [UN Security Council] veto powers and Germany, which are trying to stop the nuclear armament of Iran. We hope that these talks will be successful, and Russia is a very active partner in this.

Russia played a very constructive role when it came to destroying the chemical weapons of Syria. And also in bringing an end to the civil war in Syria — which we so urgently need but from which we are such a long way off — Russia must and Russia will play a decisive role. 

So, there are these [discussion] formats.

I was very happy that the American secretary of state [John Kerry] met recently in Sochi with the Russian president [on May 12]. There are many conflicts that we can't solve without Russia, and we will find the appropriate diplomatic channels to bring Russia into the conversation.