TAORMINA, Sicily – A glance of the leaders meeting with Donald Trump during his first Group of Seven summit as U.S. president, in alphabetical order by country. The summit takes place Friday and Saturday in Taormina, on the Italian island of Sicily.
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Trump joins the leaders of France, Britain and Italy in making their G-7 debuts this year, although he met some of them already on Thursday at the NATO summit in Brussels.
Theresa May, 60, entered 10 Downing St. last July to shepherd Britain's exit from the European Union, as decided in a nationwide referendum. Despite backing the campaign to remain in the EU, May has pledged she will make a success of Brexit and is spearheading tough negotiations to untangle Britain from the EU apparatus after 44 years of ties, while forging new bilateral relationships with its neighbors. As part of that, May unexpectedly called a snap election for June 8, hoping to increase her parliamentary majority and strengthen her bargaining position. However, in recent days her attention has been on the suicide bombing at a pop concert in Manchester that killed 22 people.
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Justin Trudeau, 45, became the second youngest prime minister in Canada's history in 2015. He is the son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who brought glamor and excitement to Canadian politics in the late 1960s. Tall and trim, Trudeau channels the star power of his father, a liberal legend credited with making Canada what it is today. Opponents of Justin Trudeau pilloried him as too inexperienced and naive, but powered by his celebrity status and a popular message his Liberal party won the majority of seats in Parliament. Trudeau champions global free trade and has welcomed more than 40,000 Syrian refugees. He has plans to legalize marijuana. Women make up half of his Cabinet, and he has stressed the importance of gender balance.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, 62, is seeking a fourth term in September that would extend her run as Europe's dominant politician. As head of the largest country in the 28-member European Union and the 19-member euro currency union, she has had the major say in determining the continent's response to the crisis over debt in several member countries and to the influx of refugees fleeing turmoil in the Arab world. Merkel grew up in communist East Germany and entered politics only after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Emmanuel Macron, 39, is France's and the G-7's youngest head of state. He was elected earlier this month on a free-market, pro-European agenda. A former investment banker, Macron was economy minister from 2014-2016 under Socialist president Francois Hollande. He quit the government last year to launch his presidential bid as an independent candidate, campaigning on a promise to renew the country's political landscape. He has never held an elected office before. Among his top priorities are boosting the country's lagging economy and fighting terrorism. His political movement, Republic on the Move, is now competing to get a majority at France's lower house of parliament in elections next month.
Paolo Gentiloni, 62, became Italy's premier last December when Matteo Renzi resigned after losing a referendum on reforms key to his political platform. A member of Renzi's Democratic Party, Gentiloni was foreign minister under Renzi and previously was communications minister. He was born to an aristocratic family, studied political science and worked for an environmental magazine before his first foray into politics as spokesman to a former Rome mayor. Besides shepherding Italy's G-7 presidency and its one-year rotation on the U.N. Security Council, Gentiloni's main domestic tasks as premier are to see that a new electoral law gets passed ahead of new elections due next year and to manage Italy's banking crisis.
Shinzo Abe, 62, is one of the longest serving Japanese prime ministers, having been in office first from 2006 to 2007, then again from 2012. A conservative hawk from the Liberal Democratic Party, which has ruled Japan almost incessantly for six decades, Abe is credited for jump-starting an ailing economy through his "Abenomics" program of loose lending and public spending. The grandson of a prime minister and son of a foreign minister, he has long been vocal about his desire to see Japan become more assertive diplomatically and militarily. Abe has argued Japan should write its own constitution, in place of what he sees as an outdated, pacifist one written during the U.S. occupation after World War II. Abe has also been aggressive about forging close relations with Trump.