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G7/G8

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Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Canada and the United States work together in the Group of Seven (G7). In this format, they discuss the global economy, foreign and security policy, development and the environment.

First global economy summit held in 1975

Family photo of the Heads of State and Government at the global economy summit in 1975. Germany was represented by Helmut Schmidt (second from left).
Family photo of the Heads of State and Government at the global economy summit in 1975. Germany was represented by Helmut Schmidt (second from left).© dpa/picture-alliance

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 “global economy summit” in Château de Rambouillet in France in1975. The Group of Seven came into existence when Canada attended the summit the following year. Since then, the industrialised countries have met annually to discuss current political and economic issues.

Until March 2014, the group included Russia and met as the G8. As a result of the violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by the Russian Federation, the Heads of State and Government of the other seven members decided to meet in the smaller G7 format until further notice.

The presidency of the G7 rotates annually among the members. Germany last chaired the group in 2015, hosting the summit in June that year at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria.

Annual summits

Working meeting of the G7 summit in Schloss Elmau, 8 June 2015
Working meeting of the G7 summit in Schloss Elmau, 8 June 2015© Bundesregierung/Kugler

The most visible element of the summit process is the annual summit of Heads of State and Government, which is hosted by the country holding the G7 Presidency and usually held around halfway through the year. The summits give the Heads of State and Government an opportunity to exchange views face to face and serve as a launchpad for joint initiatives.

G7 Foreign Ministers meetings

The G7 Foreign Ministers also meet on a regular basis to discuss foreign and security policy issues.

The first meeting of G7 Foreign Ministers during Germany’s Presidency was held in New York on 25 September 2014, on the margins of the UN General Assembly. The second meeting took place in Lübeck on 14 and 15 April 2015, where the focus was on current critical issues, such as the situation in the Middle East and Ukraine. The 2017 Foreign Ministers meeting was held in Lucca, Italy, on 10 and 11 April.

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Italy's G7 Preidency

Germany's G7 Presidency in 2015