G7: Cooperation on the basis of shared values

Three women having a conversation. flags in the background

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock with her colleagues Elizabeth Truss und Melanie Joly from UK and Canada, © Thomas Koehler/photothek.de

30.12.2021 - Article

Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States work together in the Group of Seven (G7). In this format they discuss global economic, foreign and security policy, development and climate issues. Germany will hold the G7 Presidency in 2022.

Germany’s G7 Presidency in 2022

The Presidency of the G7 rotates annually among the members. Germany will take over the Presidency from the United Kingdom on 1 January 2022. The core focuses of Germany’s Presidency Programme include a resolute commitment to open, resilient, democratic societies and to human rights, the creation of strong alliances to protect the climate and environment as well as global health, and the expansion of development partnerships to promote sustainable development and infrastructure. Alongside close coordination on current foreign and security policy crises, the G7 Foreign Ministers will set additional priorities in keeping with a prevention and transformation agenda.

Japan will take over the Presidency from Germany on 1 January 2023.

G7 process: More than an annual summit

A castle with many windows
Schloss Elmau© Hotel Schloss Elmau

The most visible element of the summit process is the annual summit of Heads of State and Government, which is hosted by the Presidency and is usually held around the middle of the year. The meetings provide an opportunity to exchange views in person and to launch joint initiatives. The 2022 Summit will be held from 26 to 28 June in Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps.

Since 1984, the G7 Foreign Ministers have met on the fringes of the United Nations General Assembly. Since 1998, there has been an additional meeting in May, which generally adopts a comprehensive “Communiqué” on current foreign and security policy issues. In recent years, additional guests have increasingly been invited, in order to ensure a broader exchange. Further to these meetings at foreign minister level, the G7 coordinates closely and regularly at all levels, for example in thematic working groups. With regard to interministerial issues with a foreign policy element, the Federal Foreign Office also supports the G7 Sherpa Staff at the Federal Chancellery via the Foreign Affairs Sous‑Sherpas (FASS).

Wide range of issues at ministerial meetings

Initially, the G7 focused on financial and monetary issues, but now the range of topics discussed has expanded greatly: alongside the Heads of State and Government track, it includes foreign affairs, digital transformation and technology, finances, health, trade, home affairs, climate and energy, and transport.

G7: Partners with shared values since 1975

The global economy changed dramatically during the 1970s. Markets were rocked by the first oil crisis, while growing global trade revealed ever greater flaws in the fixed exchange-rate system. For this reason, the Heads of State and Government of France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States met at the first “world economic summit” in Château de Rambouillet in France in 1975. With Canada’s participation the following year, the Group of Seven was complete. The European Union has also taken part in the annual summits since 1977. Russia was part of the group (G8) from 1998 until its illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.

That said, the G7 provides a forum for informal – and thus very frank – exchange on current challenges. The economically strong democracies in the group are linked by shared values and in many cases can highlight a clear standpoint, not least for the public, for instance on acute foreign and security policy crises. However, the G7 is not an international organisation and has no established structures such as a secretariat. The Presidency organises and prepares the ministerial meetings and the annual summit in particular, though generally in working groups.

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