Three big summits with a very big topic: the Ukraine war and its consequences. From Thursday, the EU, G7 and NATO will set the course for their future. Chancellor Scholz is there all the way.

It is a summit marathon, as one has seldom experienced. It starts on Thursday in Brussels with the heads of state and government of the European Union.

It then continues in the Bavarian Alps with the G7 round of economically strong democracies and ends after eight days in the Spanish capital Madrid, where the Nato wants to reposition itself.

Almost 50 countries from all continents are involved. But only three bosses will walk the full route from start to finish: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. Only their lands belong to both EU and NATO as well as the G7.

Exactly these three top politicians traveled to Kyiv in a special train last week to meet the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in preparation for the summit marathon. He too now wants to be present at all three summits, but only via video link. That already shows which topic will put everything else in the shade: The Ukraine-War and its global consequences will run like a red thread through the summit marathon.

EU summit in Brussels

if of Russia If President Vladimir Putin had not ordered his armed forces to invade neighboring Ukraine on February 24, climate protection would probably have been the top topic at the EU summit this Thursday and Friday. It had originally been planned to set the necessary course for achieving the European reduction targets for greenhouse gases at the meeting. In view of the Ukraine war and its consequences, however, the topic is now only being addressed marginally.

According to diplomats, there is too much concern about falling out over the difficult issue of climate protection – especially since the Ukraine war has caused energy costs to rise again and many governments do not want to burden their citizens with large additional costs for climate protection.

Instead, leaders will now discuss further support for Russia-attacked Ukraine. At the meeting, the EU Commission proposed officially recognizing Ukraine and its small neighboring country Moldova as EU accession candidates. In addition, according to a draft for the summit conclusions, military support for Ukraine is to be further expanded.

It is very likely that the proposals will find the necessary approval from all heads of state and government. Scholz, Macron and Draghi had already clearly positioned themselves in Kyiv. Until recently, however, it was still unclear whether other EU states such as Austria would tie their approval of the EU candidate status for Ukraine and Moldova to progress in EU expansion to the Western Balkans.

The heads of state and government want to meet with their colleagues from the Balkan states on Thursday morning before the EU summit. For example, Austria is calling for Bosnia-Herzegovina to be granted the status of an EU accession candidate. On Wednesday in the Bundestag, Scholz again spoke out in favor of starting accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.

G7 summit in Elmau

Six months after being sworn in as chancellor, Scholz is hosting a major international summit for the first time. The war will also be in the foreground during the deliberations in Alpenidylle. Scholz wants to look far ahead. In the Bundestag he called for a “Marshall Plan” for the reconstruction of the country, as it was for Germany and other European countries after the Second World War. “We will need many more billions of euros and dollars for reconstruction – and that for years to come. This is only possible with combined forces.”

To reduce global warming, Scholz wants to advance his idea of ​​the climate club, which dates back to his time as finance minister. “The states that are jointly on the way to more climate protection should be able to work together in the way we envisage for the whole world,” he describes the project himself.

One of the Chancellor’s particular concerns is to strengthen the cohesion of democracies worldwide. That is why Scholz invited India, Indonesia, South Africa, Senegal and Argentina as guest countries to Elmau. “Our understanding of democracy falls short if we only focus on the classic West,” he said in a dpa interview a few days ago. The powerful democracies of the future can be found in Asia, Africa and the south of America, and one must network better with them. “It would be a special success if the summit could be the starting point for a new look at the world of democracy,” says Scholz.

NATO summit in Madrid

The summit marathon will conclude with the meeting of the heads of state and government of the 30 NATO countries in Madrid. It was still unclear whether the hoped-for message of unity would really come from the meeting beginning on Tuesday. The reason for this is Turkey’s previous refusal to agree to the start of NATO accession talks with Finland and Sweden.

The two countries had already applied to join the defense alliance in mid-May and hoped to be able to attend the Madrid summit as invited states. So far, however, Turkey has blocked the admission process and justifies its position by saying that Finland and Sweden support “terrorist organizations” such as the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK and the Syrian Kurdish militia YPG – which both countries reject.

In the meantime, it is considered certain that the NATO states will agree on a long-term strengthening of the eastern flank in view of the Russian action against Ukraine. Germany wants to contribute a combat brigade for Lithuania. “We will defend every square meter of the alliance’s territory,” he promised in the Bundestag to the eastern partners, who feel particularly threatened by Russia.

In addition, a new strategic concept is to be decided. The current version dates from 2010. At that time, for example, the Allies were still hoping that the time of great tension with Russia was over and were counting on a “real strategic partnership” with the country.

NATO: Spain wants to talk about southern flank

According to the host, Spain, the NATO summit in Madrid will deal not only with the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, but also with threats on the southern flank of the defense alliance. Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares announced in Madrid on Wednesday that the new strategic concept, which the 30 member states want to adopt next week, will also address the situation south of the Mediterranean. Spain is confronted with neighbors in North Africa who are at odds with each other.

Defense Secretary Margarita Robles stressed that the war in Ukraine is also affecting countries south of the alliance, such as Somalia, where famine is now rife. In addition, Russia is increasingly present in some countries of the Sahel zone.

NATO wants to send a message of unity in Madrid in the face of the Russian attack. It is questionable whether Turkey will give up its blockade against the admission of Finland and Sweden. It is certain that the heads of state and government will agree on a long-term strengthening of the eastern flank. The new concept is intended to replace the current version from 2010. At that time, the alliance still relied on “real strategic partnership” with Russia.