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G20 Summit: Angela Merkel’s embarrassing ScoMo cheat sheet

Given Australia’s prime ministerial revolving door, German Chancellor Angela Merkel could be forgiven for not knowing much about our latest leader, Scott Morrison.

Mr Morrison is, after all, the third Australian prime minister to attend a G20 summit in just four years.

But Ms Merkel didn’t even bother hiding her lack of knowledge on ScoMo as she openly consulted what appeared to be a cheat sheet, complete with Morrison’s mugshot, as the pair sat down for a chat.

Of all the 20 leaders attending the summit, Mr Morrison has been in the job for the shortest period of time after he became Australia’s 30th Prime Minister in August, NewsCorp reports.

media_cameraGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel checks her notes as she sits down for a bilateral meeting with Australian PM Scott Morrison at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. Picture: AAP
media_cameraA mug shot of ScoMo can be seen on Ms Merkel’s cheat sheet/ Picture: AAP


Earlier, Mr Morrison backed British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit proposal ahead of a make-or-break trade meeting between China and the US held in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Ms May is facing intense global and domestic political pressure over the draft deal, which will be voted on in less than a fortnight.

The agreement has been criticised by pro-Brexit and pro-EU British politicians, including members of her own Conservative Party who plan to vote against it.

“Can I commend you, with a very tough set of issues to deal with in the United Kingdom,” Mr Morrison said.

“I think you are showing great resilience and great determination to resolve what has been one of the most vexed issues I think there is.”

Mr Morrison said Ms May had handled criticism of her unpopular deal “in typical British fashion”.

“You and your colleagues have our strong support to continue to bring this to a good resolution,” he said.

Australia and Britain have used the summit to try to bring to an end the protracted trade war between the US and China.

Ms May thanked Australia for its advocacy in finding a resolution amid concerns the ongoing trade dispute will damage global markets.


The Trump administration has found itself at odds with many allies over the Paris accord on climate change and issues like migration.

The joint statement signed by all 20 member nations said 19 of them reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris climate accord, with the United States, which withdrew from the pact under President Donald Trump, the lone holdout.

The official communique acknowledged flaws in global commerce and called for reforming the World Trade Organisation, but it didn’t mention the word “protectionism” after negotiators said that had met resistance from the United States.

media_cameraScoMo backed British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit push. Picture: AAP


Applause broke out in the convention centre hall as the leaders, including Mr Trump, signed off on the statement at the end of the two-day summit in the Argentine capital, the first time it has been held in South America.

The non-binding agreement was reached after marathon talks by diplomats stretched overnight and into daylight, amid deep divisions between member nations. European Union officials said the United States was the main holdout on nearly every issue.

Mr Trump has criticised the WTO and taken aggressive trade policies targeting China and the EU.

But China also pushed back in talks on steel, South Africa objected to language on trade, Australia didn’t want the statement to be too soft on migration and Turkey worried it would push too far on climate change, according to the officials.

A senior White House official said the joint statement meets many U.S. objectives and stressed that it includes language about WTO reform.

The official also noted other elements such as language on workforce development and women’s economic development and a commitment by China to doing infrastructure financing on “transparent terms.”

According to the official, the unusual language on climate was necessary for Washington to sign on, and Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Russia had appeared sympathetic to the U.S. position but ultimately stayed with the other countries.

media_cameraFrance’s President Emmanuel Macron gestures during a bilateral meeting with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the second day of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires. Picture: AFP

The final language of the statement says, regarding climate, that 19 nations that are signatories to the Paris accord reiterate their commitment to it while the U.S. reiterates its decision to withdraw.

It also notes a recent U.N. report that warned damage from global warming will be much worse than previously feared, and expresses support for an upcoming U.N. climate meeting in Poland meant to nail down how countries will meet promises made in the Paris accord.

On global commerce, the statement says the 20 countries support multilateral trade but acknowledge that the current system doesn’t work and needs fixing, via “the necessary reform of the WTO to improve its functioning.”

On migration, European officials said the U.S. negotiator said too much talk about it would have been a “deal-breaker” for Mr Trump.

So they came up with “minimalist” language that acknowledges growing migrant flows and the importance of shared efforts to support refugees and solve the problems that drive them to flee.

The statement also shows a commitment to a “rules-based international order,” despite Mr Trump’s rejection of many of those rules.

With trade tensions between the U.S. and China dominating the summit, the Europeans sought to play mediator and also scaled back their expectations, cutting out mention of rising protectionism — mainly aimed at Mr Trump.

French President Emmanuel Macron called it a victory that the U.S. signed on to the statement at all, given the tensions going into the talks. “With Trump, we reached an agreement,” Mr Macron said.

“The U.S. accepted a text.”

media_cameraPresident Donald Trump listens to China’s President Xi Jinping speak during their bilateral meeting at the G20 Summit on Saturday. Picture: AP


Thomas Bernes of the Canada-based Centre for International Governance Innovation, who has held leading roles with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Canadian government, said the G-20 had “veered all over the road” at the summit and failed to truly fix trade.

The US was out of step on migration and climate change and blocked meaningful agreement on those issues, he added.

“Instead, leaders buried their differences in obscure language and dropped language to fight protectionism, which had been included in every G-20 communique since the leaders’ first summit,” he said.

“This is clearly a retrograde step forced by United States intransigence.” “The question is whether we are burying the G-20 in the process,” Mr Bernes added.

“Certainly this is a big hit to the credibility of the G-20 to provide resolute leadership in addressing global problems.”

Perhaps surprisingly, one country that was seen as particularly constructive was Russia, the EU officials said. Despite tensions over its military actions on Ukraine and political interference abroad, Russia supports international efforts on trade and climate.

The summit statement’s language on climate was welcomed by environmental groups such as the World Wildlife Forum and Greenpeace, the latter of which said in a statement: “The necessity of the U.S. being part of the effort to fight climate change cannot be denied, but this is a demonstration that the U.S. is still the odd one out.”

While a statement isn’t legally enforceable, the Europeans see it as proof that the G-20 is still relevant and that multilateralism still works.

“Everyone agrees that the WTO should be reformed,” Ms Merkel said. “This is an important agreement.”

“We will send a clear signal,in any case, most of us” for the success of global climate talks starting in Poland on Sunday, Ms Merkel added.

media_cameraTurkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a press conference on the second day of the G20 Leader’s Summit, in Buenos Aires, on December 1. Picture: AFP


Ms Merkel’s spokesman said that during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, she also voiced concern about rising tensions in the Kerch Strait off Crimea and pushed for “freedom of shipping into the Sea of Azov.”

Last weekend, Russia seized three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crews in an incident escalating a tug of war that began in 2014 when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and supported separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Germany and France have sought to mediate between Russia and Ukraine, and Ms Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said she and Mr Putin agreed that the four countries should hold further talks at the “adviser level.”

This morning, Mr Putin accused Ukraine of not wanting a peaceful solution to its conflict with Russia.

At a press conference at the end of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires on Saturday,

Mr Putin repeated his assertion that the latest incident in the Kerch Strait was a “provocation” by Ukraine which reflected Kiev’s attitude.

The ruling party in Kiev was a “party of war” and “as long as it’s in power, tragedies of this type and the war will continue,” Putin argued, adding that it was always blaming Russian aggression for its leadership failures.

Mr Putin has previously suggested that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko engineered Sunday’s incident in a bid to improve his chances ahead of next year’s presidential election, without providing any evidence for the claim.

On Sunday, Russia seized three Ukrainian naval vessels off the Crimean Peninsula, a territory it annexed from Ukraine four years ago.

In the most dangerous flare-up of violence since 2014, the Russian coastguard opened fire and captured the Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait, which links the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.

Kiev then instituted 30 days of martial law and imposed border controls on Russian men aged between 16 and 60, citing fears that Russia would infiltrate its territory to stage an uprising.

Mr Trump called off a planned meeting with Putin at the G20 over the incident but held “informal conversations” with the Russian leader on the sidelines of the summit, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders confirmed


Mr Putin said neither he nor Trump had changed their opinion on the situation.

“I answered his question about the incident in the Black Sea in two words,” he told reporters, expressing regret that Trump had called off their meeting.

With wires

Originally published as Leader’s sad cheat sheet spotted

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