SPOTLIGHT: The United Kingdom has assumed the chairmanship of the G7 group of states for 2021. On February 19, 2021, the heads of state and government of the G7 countries met virtually for the first time, including the new President of the USA. The real G7 summit takes place 11. -13. June 2021 in Carbis Bay, Cornwall. Britain plans to use the G7 presidency to unite the leading democracies and help the world fight the coronavirus, then build a better world and create a greener, more prosperous future.
According to WHOLEVEHICLES.COM, the G7 is an association of important industrial nations and serves as a “voting forum” for the exchange of ideas on global issues, in particular world finances and the world economic situation. The G7 is not an international organization, its meetings are informal. The discussion of current global political problems is increasingly coming to the fore.
Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Canada, USA
The chairmanship of the G7 is held for a period of one year by a member who also organizes the annual summit. Great Britain is the host of the 47th summit (the 46th summit chaired by the USA did not take place due to the Covid-19 pandemic, neither real nor virtual).
Economic power of the G7
The graphic shows the percentage share of the G7 countries in global gross domestic product (GDP). The large pie chart shows the G7 shares for 2018 with a total of around 45 percent of world GDP. For comparison, the small pie chart shows the status in 2006 with a G7 share of around two thirds of global GDP.
Finding: within a decade, the economic importance of the G7 has weakened significantly. If one takes into account the financial importance of the countries – which corresponds to the original goal of the G7 – the weight of the G7 would, however, increase significantly.
G7 GDP and population
The graphic shows the world ranking of the members in a global comparison for the year 2018. In the table, the left column shows the world ranking of the states according to their economic output (GDP), in the right column according to their population size.
Finding: While the G7 members are all among the top 10 in the world for GDP, only the USA, the third largest country in the world, is among the top 10 in terms of population. The discrepancy between economic power and population size becomes clear here – a dilemma that can hardly be resolved. What is the focus, what moves the world – people or the economy?
G7 members in international bodies
The graphic lists a selection of activities, committees and structures in which the individual G7 members are present on the international stage. A selection is listed from left to right as follows
- P-5 (permanent members of the UN Security Council)
- Middle East Quartet (Israel / Palestinian problem)
- EU-3 (problem case Iran / Iranian nuclear program)
- Group of six (problematic North Korea)
Formation and way of working of the group
With the admission of Canada in 1977, the “Group of Seven” (G7) came into being, whose meetings were originally initiated as fireside chats to discuss current financial and currency issues. The EU has also been represented at the meetings since 1977, today usually with two participants – the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission. In total, there are regularly at least nine participants – hence the name “G7” (just kidding).
Since the G7 is not an international organization or institution, but an informal association, it does not have any institutionalized structures. There is neither a permanent secretariat nor a general secretary. There is no formal founding act.
The G7 is chaired for a year by one member who also organizes the annual summit. The most visible part of the G7 process are these annual summits of heads of state and government, which usually take place around the middle of the year.
The members of the G7 as an informal association can only make commitments for themselves; On the other hand, they only provide impetus for discussion with other states or institutions.
In many media, the G7 meetings are often misleadingly referred to as “economic summits” or also as “world economic summits”, which leads to confusion with the annual summit meetings of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which are usually referred to in the same way.
Development in recent years
- A G8 summit was planned in Russia in 2014, but it was canceled due to the UkraineInstead, the meeting took place in 2014 as a G7 summit in Brussels.
- In 2015, Germany hosted the G7 summit (Schloss Elmau).
- In 2018 the G7 summit in Charlevoix (Canada) ended with a (Trump) scandal
- In 2019 the G7 summit took place in Biarritz (France)
- In 2020, the US was the regular host of the 46th G7 summit, originally planned for May 10-12. June in Camp David, or in Trump’s golf hotel in Florida, or as a video conference, or as a real meeting in Washington (but then without Merkel and Co.). Ultimately, the summit was postponed until after the US election and should be expanded to include several more states (but not China) after Trump was introduced. The result should have been something between G7 and G20, so a kind of Gxxx… The summit did not take place.
In 1997, when Russia joined the G7, the group was officially constituted as the G8. However, Russia continued to be excluded from the preceding financial and economic policy consultations of the G7. France and the USA insisted not to formally dissolve the previous G7 group. And this – as it turned out with the annexation of Crimea – with obviously wise foresight…
Contrary to popular belief, the G7 continued to exist after the G8 was constituted in 1997; it usually included the finance ministers of the G8 countries with the exception of Russia. Thanks to Putin, the G7 meetings are now taking place again at the highest level of heads of state and government.
The meetings originally planned as informal “fireside chats” have been hyped up to major media events over the years and have thus lost their real purpose. The expansion of the group of participants and the catalog of topics turned the fireside chats into more and more formalized summit events with at least 9 “chiefs”, approx. 250 “Indians” (delegation participants), approx. 2,500 media representatives, several thousand security forces and several thousand demonstration participants.
The terminology “meeting of the heads of state and government of the seven leading industrial countries” suggests that the representatives of the seven “leading” countries of the world meet. In fact, however, economically far ahead of Canada, for example, there is a lack of countries such as China and India, although these are also far ahead of all G7 members in terms of their population. Canada’s participation resulted from the fact that the country was in seventh place in the ranking of economic nations in the mid-1970s.
For years, the meetings have been attracting a large number of conference opponents, especially the mostly peaceful so-called “anti-globalization”. In the media, the summit meetings are mostly perceived as strongly secured and shielded events with excesses of violence up to street battles. In 2005 the meeting gained a certain degree of awareness through the “Live Eight” events by pop musicians in 10 countries.
Despite the expansion of the group of participants and the catalog of topics, the results of the summit meetings increasingly wither into lip service and general statements. In reality, the meetings serve to maintain contacts, at best they can send out a certain signal effect.