We often read or hear in the news about a “G7 summit” convening to discuss a specific issue, and the latest news about it was on May 23rd, following the tragedy in Manchester where 22 people were killed in what is considered a terrorist attack.
Italy’s Finance Minister Paolo Gentiloni proclaimed that the G7 commit to fighting terror and declared that they will meet in Sicily on Friday, May 26th, to make a collective and extraordinary commitment to fighting terrorism.
But what is the G7?
How G7 was Founded
The G7 stems from the Group of Six, which was founded in 1975 and originally consisted of USA, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the UK. Canada became the seventh member to attend the 1976 summit in Puerto Rico at the invitation of US president Gerald Ford.
The G7 serves as a forum for the seven most highly industrialized democracies representing 46% of the global GDP and holding more than 64% of the net global wealth.
The Difference Between G7 & G8
The Group of Seven is an informal bloc of the above mentioned 7 countries, therefore it lacks the organizational structures such as that of United Nations or World Bank meetings. The G7 also doesn’t have offices, secretaries, or fixed meeting dates.
Russia joined the forum in 1998 after Bill Clinton’s decision to include them and the G7 were called the G7 + 1 or G8.
The G8 held an annual summit attended by national leaders and was considered to be a major international event that’s heavily covered by the media.
The hosting country is considered the leader of the meeting and is responsible for the organization of the summit, which is held for three days semiannually.
Russia was expelled from the group in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea, and the group became the G7 again.
The Purpose of G7
The purpose of the meeting is to improve economic growth and promote economic reforms. On the agenda are discussions of economic issues and financial crises and the drafting of future plans to resolve them. In addition, specific issues that arise can be discussed and acted upon.
Date & Place of the Meetings
The G7 finance ministers meet in one of the participating countries. Meetings are scheduled several times during the year to discuss various issues such as international security, global economic governance, energy policies and financial crises.
Criticism Faced by G7
For years, the G7 has been criticized for not covering emerging markets and failing to represent the world economies adequately.
The meetings face public pressure and are usually an opportunity for activists to gather for protests.
The G7 are also accused of being responsible for many global issues such as poverty in developing countries because of external debt and trading policy.