G7: members, meetings, decision-making… what is the “group of 7” for?

It is an unmissable moment on the international scene. G7 members meet from Friday to Sunday in Hiroshima, Japan, for their annual meeting. The leaders have already announced new sanctions to “deprive Russia” resources that “support his war enterprise”. But what exactly is the G7?

  • Who are the members of the G7?

Created in 1975, the G7 (“Group of 7”) is a group of discussion and economic partnership between seven countries : Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and United States. Each country is represented by its main leader – the two Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden, British, Canadian, Italian and Japanese Prime Ministers Rishi Sunak, Justin Trudeau, Giorgia Meloni and Fumio Kishida, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

#G7広島サミット が開幕しました。3日間にわたり、ウクライナ情勢、核軍縮・不拡散、地域情勢、世界経済、また、気候変動、保健、開発といった地球規模の課題について、首脳レベルで議論します。法の支配に基づく自由で開かれた国際秩序を守り抜くとのG7のコミットメントを力強く発信していきます。 pic.twitter.com/uHC7cXvpp0

— 首相官邸 (@kantei) May 19, 2023

The European Union has also participated in all working sessions since 1981 through the presence of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Russia, once present in what was called the G8, has been excluded from meetings since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

If the G7 meetings are very formalized, in front of the media around the world, the “group of 7” remains a simple framework for informal dialogue between several major economic powers. The Élysée reminds us of this on its website: “it has no legal existence, no permanent secretariat, no ex officio member”. In short, the G7 can stop meeting at any time.

Its only real rule is the rotating presidency in the following order: Canada in 2018, France in 2019, United States in 2020, United Kingdom in 2021, Germany in 2022, Japan in 2023 and Italy in 2024. seven countries may need to coordinate during these meetings to take decisions such as the sanctions taken against Russia. Their main strike force remains their importance in the global economy. Between them, they represent more than 40% of the world’s GDP, for 10% of the population.

  • What topics do they cover?

During these three days of meeting, the G7 will discuss during eight working sessions on the following issues: Russian aggression against Ukraine, dialogue with international partners, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation , economic resilience and security, climate, energy and environment, and finally food, health and development.

Besides the war in Ukraine, the agenda will be mainly dominated by China and the diversification of the supply chains of the G7 countries to guard against the risk of “economic coercion” from Beijing. Paris, however, ured that it would be “not a G7 of confrontation” but “a G7 of cooperation and the requirement with regard to China”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected in person in Hiroshima to ert its interests with the seven countries which all denounce Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. “Very important things will be decided on the spot, and therefore the presence, the presence in person of our president is absolutely essential to defend our interests”, affirmed the secretary of the Ukrainian Security Council Oleksy Danilov.

The Japanese Presidency has also invited the leaders of Australia, Brazil, Comoros, Cook Islands, Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia and Vietnam to take part in several working sessions during the summit.

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