Page last updated at 19:10 GMT, Wednesday, 9 July 2008 20:10 UK

G8 summit: How did leaders fare?

The BBC's diplomatic correspondent James Robbins gives his assessment on how each of the G8 leaders performed at a summit in Japan.


A curious summit for Mr Berlusconi.

From left to right: UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, US President George W Bush, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G8 summit

His officials suggested he played a crucial role in the Zimbabwe negotiations. Other countries dismissed that.

US President George W Bush called him "amigo". His Italian friend forgave the US leader his use of Spanish, but was less pleased to be described in the White House press pack given to journalists as one of the "most controversial leaders in the history of a country known for government corruption and vice".

The White House apologised for what it called "sloppy work" and said it seemed an official had simply lifted the characterisation from the internet without reading it.


A prime minister on the defensive at home, where his unpopularity is huge, looked in command and in his element at the summit.

Mr Brown wore down fellow leaders by bombarding them with fact and detailed argument to win support for a strong statement on Zimbabwe, to advance collective commitments on climate change, and to stop what threatened to be wholesale G8 retreat on aid for Africa.

It felt like a good summit for him, even if it is unlikely to be rewarded by stronger poll ratings in Britain.


His eighth and last G8. The president looked and sounded "demob happy". He was in full hugging, back-slapping and joshing mood.

He did move the US closer to the consensus on climate change, by consenting to language which makes achieving 50% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 a G8 "vision".

It is conditional, however, on the rest of the world reaching a deal at next year's crucial negotiations in Copenhagen.

Others see a denier of the science converted, and look forward to dealing with whoever succeeds him.

Both candidates for the White House have already promised far more from the world's largest polluter.


A nervous host of the G8. He has been desperate to hang on in office despite his unpopularity as prime minister long enough to take the chair.

He succeeded, and was praised for steering the meeting through a huge agenda, with the world confronting something close to a perfect storm in the economy.

"While the foundations of the world economy in the long-term remain solid, right now the price of primary products keeps rising and contributing to inflationary pressures," Mr Fukuda said.

"The G8 shares this common understanding and agrees to take all macroeconomics measures and structural reforms needed to alleviate this problem," he said.

We will not know if the G8 lives up to that commitment for many years, as structural reforms take a long time to implement, even longer to deliver results.


Mr Harper led the G8 discussion on Afghanistan. He said all members agreed with "unprecedented unanimity" about the need to do much more.

"I think every one of the G8 countries understands the question is critical, understands that success in Afghanistan is critical," he said.

The issue is especially poignant for Canada. Some 90 Canadians have died in Afghanistan since 2001, one in 10 of losses among the international forces.


The most important thing for Russia "was to improve the new President's global image".

Did he succeed? No gaffes. He stood firm on most issues. He appeared to give ground on Zimbabwe, agreeing to a statement which signalled agreement to international measures against President Robert Mugabe and his close circle.

Mr Medvedev then made clear that his interpretation of the statement did not imply support for UN sanctions.

Result: he looks more like his predecessor, President Vladimir Putin - unpredictable, hard to read, and tough.


Mrs Merkel was determined to protect the climate change breakthrough from her G8 summit last year at Heiligendamm.

Most people think she succeeded, even if the language agreed at Hokkaido on climate change is tortuous and ambiguous.

There has been considerable progress on the issue of climate protection, she said, and it is clear that today no country in the world can solve the problems alone.

"We must stand together," the chancellor said.


Mr Sarkozy was slightly on the defensive.

He came under enormous pressure to abandon signs he is embracing protectionism which threatens to demolish a global agreement to open up world trade.

France is reluctant to approve cuts to European Union farm subsidies that would have to be part of any deal.

French farmers are major beneficiaries. Mr Brown rode to the rescue: "President Sarkozy made clear he wanted to see a break in the deadlock."

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