In 1975 the first “Summit of the Six” took place in Rambouillet (France). This meeting was already based on the idea of a personal exchange of views. At that time, Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing saw the need to coordinate the economic policies of the most important national economies on an international level. This was the only way to overcome the global downturn triggered by the collapse of the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate system and the first oil crisis.
In 1976, according to TOPBBACOLLEGES.COM, with the admission of Canada, the “Group of Seven” (G7) was created.
In 1977 the President of the European Commission of the EU and the respective chairman of the European Council of the EU were invited as permanent participants.
In 1994 the President of Russia was invited to participate in the political deliberations (these meetings were therefore also known as “P-8”). However, Russia continued to be excluded from the preceding financial and economic policy consultations of the G7.
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.
In 1999, at the 25th summit in Cologne, Russia was promised that it would gradually be integrated into the meetings with the aim of full equality. However, 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…
The last G8 summit for the time being took place in Great Britain in 2013.
A G8 summit was planned in Russia in 2014, but it was canceled due to the Ukraine crisis.
Instead, the meeting took place in 2014 as a G7 summit in Brussels.
The G7 summit met in Germany in 2015.
The G7 summit met in Japan in 2015.
The group has no institutionalized structures. There is neither a permanent secretariat nor a general secretary. Each year, a different member takes over the chairmanship of the group and thus the organization of the summit meetings.
The most visible part of the process is the annual summit meetings of heads of state or government, which are usually invited by the presidency around the middle of the year. These meetings offer the opportunity to exchange views in a face-to-face meeting.
Shortly before the summit, the foreign ministers and finance ministers of the G8 meet to discuss foreign policy, currency and finance issues. Other specialist ministers also meet in the G8 group, for example the environment or development ministers.
Topics for the summit and ministerial meetings are prepared by high-ranking officials from the heads of state and government and ministers known as “Sherpas” and “Sous-Sherpas” in diplomatic language. To do this, they meet several times a year.
In individual cases, the group commissions expert groups to carry out further work on individual topics – such as bridging the “digital divide”, wider use of renewable energies, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or the international fight against organized crime and terrorism. The recommendations drawn up there are discussed by the heads of state and government at the summits and are incorporated into the summit resolutions.
Depending on the topic, additional participants can be invited, for example the Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), representatives of African countries or the African Union (AU) or representatives of various emerging and developing countries.
Since the 1970s, the number of global problems that can only be solved in conjunction with others has grown steadily. Global economic interdependence is increasing. While the summits were initially dominated by monetary policy cooperation, international cooperation in environmental, security and foreign policy took on more and more space in the 1980s.
Since the late 1990s, the heads of state and government at the meetings of the group have increasingly focused on the economic, political and social challenges that require common answers in the face of globalization.
At the previous summits, global economic and currency issues, as well as increasingly special economic problems (including energy policy, debt, unemployment, environmental protection, nuclear safety, drug and arms trafficking, migration movements and the transformation process in the former Eastern Bloc) have been dealt with.
Since the turn of the millennium, the focus of the summit has been on the fight against terrorism, strategies to prevent future financial crises and Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). In addition, the African heads of state were invited to speak about the “New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development” (NEPAD – New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development).