G8 at a Glance

By | October 17, 2021

SPOTLIGHT : “The G8 are dead” – According to the Federal Chancellery, Russia will no longer be included in the G7, according to SPIEGEL on April 30, 2016. There are no indications that Moscow will meet the conditions for a return. In addition, the US is strictly against a resumption – this position is no longer so clearly taken by the Trump administration. After the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea under President Vladimir Putin, Russia was excluded from the group of G8 countries. Since 2014, the leading industrial nations have been meeting again in the G7 format. For reasons of contemporary history, we are leaving this website on our website until further notice.


According to SPORTINGOLOGY.COM, the G8 was an amalgamation of important industrial nations and served as a “voting forum” for the exchange of ideas on global issues, especially the world economic situation. The G8 was not an international organization, its meetings were informal. The discussion of current global political problems increasingly came to the fore.

Participants (8)

  • Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Canada, Russia, USA

The EU also took part in the meetings on a regular basis. Other participants were invited on a case-by-case basis, for example the UN Secretary General or the President of the African Union.

The last G8 summit 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 as a G7 summit in Brussels.

Share in world gross domestic product

Originally founded as a forum for the six (later seven) leading industrial nations in the 1970s, a key criterion was the economic performance of the participants. The graphic shows the percentage share of the G8 countries in global economic output in 2012, which together accounted for almost exactly half of world GDP at the time. The small pie chart shows the share in 2006 (around two thirds of world GDP) – the global economic weight of the G8 had thus decreased significantly.

For the G8 meetings, the terminology “meeting of the heads of state and government of the seven leading industrialized countries and Russia” had established itself in official parlance.

If the GDP criterion alone had been used as a benchmark for membership in the G8, China and India should have been members long ago.

G8 members in international bodies

The graphic shows that individual G8 members are also present in other bodies and structures on the international stage. A selection is listed from left to right as follows

  • P-5 (permanent members of the UN Security Council)
  • P-5 plus 1 (permanent members plus Germany) – (problematic Iranian nuclear program)
  • Middle East Quartet (Israel / Palestinian problem)
  • EU-3 (problematic Iranian nuclear program)
  • Group of six (problematic North Korea)

G8 – GDP and residents of the members

The graphic shows the eight members of the G8 and marks the respective world rankings of the countries in table form according to gross domestic product (GDP) (left column) and population (right column) as of 2013, which is provisionally the last year of the G8.

Note: The world rankings of the eight members range in GDP from rank 1 to rank 11, in terms of population from rank 3 to rank 37. The “leading” economies in the world, the “most important” countries in the world? Please keep dreaming …

Formation and working method of the G8

In 1977, with the admission of Canada, the “Group of Seven” (G7) came into being, whose meetings were originally set up as fireside chats to discuss current financial and currency issues. The EU has also been represented at the meetings since 1977, usually with two participants – the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission. In total, there were at least ten people to talk to – hence the name “G8” (just kidding).

The G8 was officially constituted in 1997 when Russia joined the G7. There was no formal founding act for either group. The G8 was chaired for one year by a G8 member who also organized the annual summit.

Since the G8 was not an international organization or institution, but an informal association, it did not have any institutionalized structures. There was neither a permanent secretariat nor a general secretary. The most visible part of the G8 process was the annual summit of heads of state and government, which usually took place around the middle of the year. The members of the G8 as an informal association could only make commitments for themselves; On the other hand, they only gave impetus for discussion to other states or institutions.

In many media, the G8 meetings were often misleadingly referred to as “economic summits” or “world economic summits”, which led to confusion with the annual summit meetings of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which are usually also referred to.