Protected by 18,000 police officers, seven heads of state and government will discuss world politics at Schloss Elmau until Tuesday. Just an expensive photo op? No, the G7 summit documents something millions of people are denied: free, open and prosperous nations.
180 million euros costs, 18,000 police officers on duty, a completely cordoned off mountain valley. And inside, in a quirky luxury hotel, seven men among themselves who have beautiful photos taken of themselves for more than two days. Yes, this is how you can see and understand the G7 summit in Elmau all in all. But it would be more wrong than it has been for a long time.
This summit show has to be. Whether it's a good show may be judged by the citizens and viewers upon completion. Anyway, it's the show of the good guys. And their meetings, their postcard-perfect images of togetherness and unity are a highly political matter. In doing so, they document a defensive cohesion that, if necessary, no longer seemed to be taken for granted. And the fact that he no longer seemed to be taken for granted is unfortunately one of the reasons Vladimir Putin thought he could invade Ukraine with impunity.
The seven states of Elmau were once by far the most economically important in the world. Today they still represent less than 45 percent of global economic power and only about one in ten of all people living in the world. So the G7 are no longer the whole, they are a kind of coalition of the important ones or a club of like-minded people - but there have long been other clubs that are important. Nonetheless, the G7 remain the only group within whose national borders people are free, societies are as open as they are capable of learning, and each individual makes their own fortunes.
This way of living hasn't been on the rise around the globe for quite some time. Lately it has even been hit by war from Russia on its eastern European borders. Both are reason enough to celebrate yourself with magnificent pictures. Just as the Ukrainians and who knows how many hundreds of millions of people around the world would celebrate if they had such political and economic conditions as prevail in most of the G7 countries.
Of course, it has a stale aftertaste that such a meeting takes place under a police high-security bell. Therefore, to accuse the rulers of contempt or excessive distance for their citizens is nevertheless malicious. Each and every one of the seven is democratically elected, but none of their lives are safe. That has always been true, but it is even more true today.
Of course, there should also be tangible results from the talks, global warming is not stopping and Ukraine needs more help than ever. We must also succeed in convincing the "guests" from the new, large states such as India, Indonesia and South Africa that the old giants of the G7 want to treat them differently from now on - namely with respect and not constantly pointing fingers.
But even if miracles or great successes are not to be expected: the G7 were by no means as valuable as they are today. Because everything they stand for and what makes them special suddenly seems more valuable than it has been for a long time. To make sure of it with all the rules of the art (and show) in front of everyone - it's worth it.