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Carbis Bay fitness regime — Hug-and-walk — Turbot-charged dinner – POLITICO

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By ALEX WICKHAM

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Over the weekend, as a playbook subscriber, you will receive our special edition of this newsletter covering the highly anticipated G7 meeting. It will land in your inbox at 5p.m. CEST/4p.m. BST.

Good Friday afternoon from the POLITICO team in Falmouth, Cornwall.

G7 fitness regime: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was spotted jogging up and down the beach in blustery Carbis Bay “at quite a pace” this morning. Boris Johnson also went for a run and another dip in the sea at the crack of dawn. There’ll be a G7 communiqué on the merits of wild swimming at this rate.

Have you got the receipt? Here are the first pictures of the $6,000 “Boris bike” gifted to the PM by the President yesterday, complete with a blue helmet bearing the American and British flags. The bicycle was handmade by Philadelphia-based Bilenky Cycle Works, and is apparently “a remake of the classic English 3 speed in lightweight form.” Johnson gave Biden a framed photo of anti-slavery campaigner Frederick Douglass printed out from Wikipedia.

TODAY AT THE G7

NOW IN TOWN: G7 leaders have rocked up for a Love Island-style photo op (h/t Sky’s Mollie Malone) on the beach in Cornwall, where they were greeted by Boris and Carrie Johnson. U.S. President Joe Biden’s motorcade dodged protesters dressed as jellyfish on the way in, before the U.K. prime minister coordinated the customary family photo. Here it is. Johnson told his guests it was “genuinely wonderful to see everyone in person” following “the wretched pandemic.”

Making a beeline: French President Emmanuel Macron headed straight for Biden and engaged in a lengthy hug-and-walk on the way in. As the Elysee pool reporter saw it: “Macron put his arm around Biden and on his shoulder as they walked and talked for a while.” It’s the first time the two leaders have met.

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Wedding presence: Bloomberg’s Kitty Donaldson has some early color, reporting that the Johnsons “greeted leaders and some of their partners with elbow bumps and quips.” Jill Biden joked: “I feel like we are at a wedding,” with Boris Johnson later pinching her line and adding that it was like “walking down the aisle.” Joe Biden urged the assembled media to go swimming, quipping “everyone in the water.”

Line of the day: After the family photo of leaders, Merkel urged Johnson ahead, telling him “you are the leader.” Steady.

Overheard on the beach: Italian PM Mario Draghi asked Johnson in front of the cameras: “Is this Land’s End?” Almost.

Awkward squad: Ahead of the elbow bump photo shoot, the EU contingent held a “coordination meeting” at 12.30 p.m., says POLITICO’s Rym Momtaz — which sounds somewhat ominous for Downing Street, although it’s standard EU practice at G7 summits. The cast list was European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian PM Mario Draghi. Times Radio’s Tom Newton Dunn says the Northern Ireland protocol was indeed on the agenda, so it sounds like we can expect some drama on that front over the weekend.

When’s the action? Saturday is “get Boris” day, one Carbis Bay insider tells Playbook. Johnson has a bilat with Macron on Saturday morning, as well as the crunch trilateral meeting with VDL and Michel where Northern Ireland and the sausage wars are expected to be raised. The expectation is that Merkel and Macron would prefer to leave the EU presidents to stick the boot in, but given Macron already made his feelings clear last night it’s hard to imagine him staying quiet.

Post-Brexit EU huddle: Macron tweeted a smiley pic of the EU leaders’ meeting this afternoon as the clouds gathered above, with the caption: “As always, the same union, the same determination to act, the same enthusiasm! The G7 can begin.”

Here we go: U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab upped the ante this morning, setting out a hardline British position and accusing the EU of being “dogmatic,” “purist” and “divisive” over Northern Ireland and claiming Brussels’ actions poses a threat to the Good Friday Agreement.

Nice guy? Perhaps the newsier question is if Biden will stick to his diplomatic approach of Thursday and do his best not to let Northern Ireland overshadow the summit, or whether he’ll take a firmer public line once he’s had his bilats with the EU leaders.

Unlocking the talks: Irish Taoiseach Micheál Martin has just given a presser post British-Irish Council, where he said the Biden administration’s apparent reassurance to Britain — that agreeing a temporary veterinary/food standards deal with EU won’t complicate progress on a U.K.-U.S. trade deal — is exactly what is needed to get the protocol working fully. POLITICO’s Shawn Pogatchnik reports that Martin said the U.S. intervention was potentially critical in creating new space for talks and compromise.

Also on the agenda: The official readout from the Elysée (via Rym Momtaz) talked up China as the key issue and repeated the non-Biden friendly EU line that the country is “a systemic rival, a partner on global issues, and a competitor.” It also praised the EU as the “most engaged actor on the international stage” in terms of ensuring universal access to COVID vaccines, and insisted the “solidarity effort must enable us to fulfill the goal of vaccinating 60 percent of the population of the countries in the south by March 2022, namely the African continent” — applying pressure to the U.S. and perhaps Canada to donate more doses, Rym says.

More to come? The top-line announcement of one billion jabs and a plan to vaccinate the world by the end of next year has hardly set the G7 alight, with questions asked about both the speed and scale of the proposal. Tony Blair has a long piece in today’s Evening Standard calling for more than just numbers. He wants “an immediate two-week sprint to share doses with countries that have insufficient vaccine supply for their healthcare workers and at-risk urban populations, mitigating the impact of the Delta variant,” as well as “a 200-day plan to reduce transmission in every country and prevent new vaccine-resistant variants arising.” Blair might not have long to wait — the word is we will be getting a fair bit more than just the billion jab announcement this weekend.

Today’s bilats: Should be three relatively calm ones … Johnson had meetings with Trudeau, Draghi and Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga this afternoon. Here’s No. 10 on the Trudeau meet: “The leaders agreed a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement between the U.K. and Canada would unlock huge opportunities for both of our countries. They agreed to redouble their efforts to secure an FTA as soon as possible.”

Those other bilats: Amid all the smiling photo ops there may be some tense one-to-one meetings between the leaders. Here’s five to look out for, from POLITICO’s Anna Isaac and Esther Webber.

Shifting Sands: This afternoon’s plenary on “building back better” from COVID is underway, and the leaders are also being given a presentation by former Evening Standard editor Sarah Sands, now chair of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council. She wrote for Red Box this morning on her aims at today’s meeting.

Boris Johnson said in his G7 opening he wants to “build back in a more equal, in a more gender-neutral, a more feminine way,” adding that the world can’t repeat the mistakes of the last crisis. “What risks being a lasting scar is that inequalities may be entrenched,” he added (h/t the Times’ Steven Swinford.)

Afternoon announcement: Just as this email went out, Johnson announced £430 million of new U.K. aid to help “over one billion children in the world’s poorest countries see a transformation in their educational opportunities.” Translation: Please don’t hate us for slashing our aid budget.

Where’s BoJoe’s invite? Biden has signed off on an invitation to the White House … for German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She’ll visit on July 16, in what is likely to be her final visit to Washington as chancellor — and the first by a European leader to Washington.

What’s behind the visit? It’s a farewell photo op — Merkel is leaving office in September — and a likely state dinner, with a dessert called “Cancel Nordstream 2,” my POLITICO colleague Ryan Heath texts. The U.S. really can’t stand the idea of the controversial gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, and this visit is a convenient way to avoid that thorny topic this week, and keep everyone smiling ahead of the Biden-Putin summit.

Special relationship latest: U.K. Environment Secretary George Eustice told CNN’s Bianca Nobilo that Johnson doesn’t like the phrase “special relationship” because it suggests Britain is “needy” and playing “second fiddle” to the U.S. Eustice said he prefers to talk about a “partnership” between the two nations.

How’s that working out? Both President Biden and Jill Biden have repeatedly tweeted about the “special relationship” this week.

Kate on Lilibet: The Royals are also in town today, with Jill Biden meeting the Duchess of Cambridge at a Cornish school this afternoon. A U.S. reporter managed to get a news line out of Kate, asking about Harry and Meghan’s new daughter Lilibet. Kate’s words: “I wish her the very best. I can’t wait to meet her. We haven’t met her yet, I hope that will be soon.” No Royal FaceTime has yet taken place, Kate confirmed.

Who’d want to come to Britain? Australian PM Scott Morrison is a guest at the G7 and is getting it in the neck from his country’s media for traveling to Delta-variant ravaged U.K. The Sydney Morning Herald’s Latika M. Bourke tweets that Morrison was asked this afternoon: “The cases here in the U.K. have gone up from 3,000 a day to 7,000 a day. You are coming to a country which is living with the virus.” The Aussie PM replied by praising the U.K. for “pressing ahead” and insisting “there is no substitute for leaders getting together.”

Don’t mention it in the media room: “Rupert Murdoch has written down the value of The Sun newspapers to zero, acknowledging the tabloid brand that helped build his global media empire has become a worthless asset,” the FT’s Alex Barker reports this afternoon.

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ON THE MENU TONIGHT

TURBOT-CHARGED DINNER: Tonight’s big dinner is at the Eden Project hosted by the queen, along with Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince William and Kate. You’ll know by now that G7 leaders and royals will be having spiced melon to start, turbot for the main, followed by a cheese course and English strawberry pavlova. (The Sun’s Harry Cole hears the queen opted for the royal train for the trip West, in contrast with jet-fuel burning Johnson.)

What No. 10 is asking: Will Joe Biden make the more relaxed beach BBQ hosted by Boris Johnson and the sea shanty singers on Saturday night? It’s likely to go on late and there’s some talk around that the president could swerve it, which would leave the PM mostly chatting to the Europeans around the fire pit.

RIGHT ROYAL RESCUE PLAN: Ahead of tonight’s dinner, Prince Charles will bring together business leaders and G7 chiefs at the Eden Project. The Prince of Wales has used his time during lockdown to bring together commonwealth leaders, business, finance and climate experts, a royal insider tells POLITICO’s Anna Isaac. He’s encouraging them, via Zoom, to translate ambitions to tackle climate change into action, according to the insider. The aim is the same one he has had since 1970: save the planet. 

Landing zone: A key aim of the venture is to get the G7 and subsequently the G20 to agree to make a clear commitment on aviation fuel. “What businesses need is signals from governments on where policy is going. Take aviation fuel as an example. Just a sentence of commitment on a 10% switch to sustainable fuel by 2030 would result in billions of private-sector cash on the infrastructure to make that happen,” the same source close to the discussion said. 

Here’s the full list: Brian Moynihan, chairman and CEO, Bank of America, Noel Quinn, CEO, HSBC Holdings Plc, Alison Rose, CEO NatWest, Ronald O’Hanley, Chairman and CEO, State Street, Pascal Soriot, CEO, Astra Zeneca, Stella McCartney, founder of the eponymous luxury goods group, Carmine Di Sibio, global chairman and CEO, EY, John Holland-Kaye, CEO, Heathrow Airport, Marc-Andre Blanchard, Head CDPQ Global and Chair of the Investor Leadership Network (ILN).

If you’re not clued into the monarchy: Prince Charles also goes by the title of the Duke of Cornwall. The name of his home there, Restormel manor, derives from the Cornish Ros tor moyl, meaning ‘bare hilltop spur’ according to English Heritage.

EU AND UK COORDINATION: Some early positive news for Charles via POLITICO’s Jakob Hanke Vela: The EU and Britain are seeking to rally G7 leaders to back high ambitions for the COP26 climate conference in November, according to people involved in the negotiations. “It is also important that the G7 provides a strong backing for the COP,” said a German government official. “This is also a British and Italian concern,” the official said.

Carbon border taxes? While the EU is a strong advocate of putting a price on CO2 emissions worldwide, like it does at home — and if needed by taxing imports at the border — other governments are less enthusiastic. Under Biden, the U.S. has become more open to the idea of carbon border taxes, but it remains skeptical, warning Europe that the policy will be politically explosive.

The EU wants the G7 … to back such approaches, for example by committing to fight carbon leakage and endorsing market instruments such as CO2 pricing. “This actually only works if you try to create a level playing field globally, otherwise you will have the carbon leakage problem, which is of course also a very, very important multilateral issue. So far, we have not achieved very much in this area … We hope that the summit will provide a strong impetus,” said the German official.

Pokémon pressure: After several years of youth-led climate protests, a growing sense of frustration was boiling up on the Falmouth main street on Friday, POLITICO’s Karl Mathieson reports. “It’s been so long and we keep coming out here and we are not getting listened to,” said Eliya May, from the Cornwall Youth Climate Association, who had rescheduled a chemistry exam to come down and make some noise about climate change. Earlier on Friday, bemused media and police were greeted by a group of yellow, smiling, coal-hating Pikachus. One of the Pikachus, who wanted to stay anonymous, said they were there to “poke fun at Japan’s pathetic coal promises.”

Other G7 leaders … have been trying to set a radical global standard on phasing out international coal finance by this year. But Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga is yet to fully endorse the idea and noises from Tokyo have been mixed. Police in the holiday town thought the mob were a bachelor party, but the reality was even grimmer: “Being inside a Pikachu costume is like a worst-case global warming,” said the Pikachu. “Hot, sweaty and constant fear you’re gonna fall into the sea.”

FALMOUTH SURVIVAL GUIDE

NEWS YOU CAN USE: For hacks and officials who’ve made the journey to Cornwall, POLITICO’s Anna Isaac knows the area well and sends over this genuinely helpful guide to the best places to eat, drink and swim.

Best for a swifty: The Chain Locker pub is an oldie and a goldie for a decent pint near the water. Like anywhere in the small town, book ahead or you’ll have to trawl the street for pasty crumbs and disconcert the poor locals even further.

Strong pasty game: It just so happens that if you want a grab-and-go meal as a Very Important Person trotting between G7 fixtures, Cornwall is the place to be. For a proper no-messin’ pasty, Oggies is a safe bet. Further up Church Street (one of the main roads, parallel to the harbor edge) The Cornish Bakery had some tasty fare too.

Quiet and cool: This place is so nice we’re quite reluctant to tell you about it. But if you want a calm place for a quiet ale or a coffee then Beerwolf books is the business. Please don’t all come, though.

Good for a coffee and a light roasting: If you’re eager to really annoy your colleagues and friends on Insta, then hit up Gylly Beach Cafe, which overlooks the rather lovely Gyllyngvase Beach. If you’re a seriously eager beaver (there’s bound to be some triathletes from Clapham who made it down from the bubble) then this is also a good place for a dip.

Staying on: If you’ve got some time after the shenanigans die down, then grab the ferry to St Mawes and book in at the Victory Inn. Those with even more time could try hitting up Helford Passage, which also has a ferry. Fortunately, there are pubs on either side (the Ferryboat Inn and the Shipwright Arms) should you miss the boat.

MANY THANKS: To my editor James Randerson and our producer Jeanette Minns.

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