Who or what is the G7?
The Group of Seven (G7) comprises seven leading industrialised nations: the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Japan, Canada and Germany. In addition, the European Union sends representatives to all the meetings.
The summits give the heads of state and government the opportunity to discuss their respective positions in personal meetings. A summit declaration containing the key outcomes is issued at the end of each summit meeting, sometimes along with additional reports and action plans.
Participants discuss issues that are of global importance, including global economic issues and foreign, security and development policy. They also address those issues that require political action and that generate widespread public interest.
What are the goals of the G7
The G7 sees itself as a community of values that stands for peace, security and a self-determined life all around the world. Freedom and human rights, democracy and the rule of law, as well as prosperity and sustainable development are key principles of the G7.
Where and when will the G7 Summit 2015 be held?
Germany assumed the G7 Presidency in early June 2014. The G7 Summit 2015 will take place on 7 and 8 June 2015 in Schloss Elmau. Elmau is in the municipality of Krün in the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Upper Bavaria.
Why will there be no G8 Summit? Why is Russia not taking part?
In March 2014 the G7 decided that, in view of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, meaningful discussions within the context of the G8 are currently not possible. Since then the meetings have continued in the G7 format.
By taking this decision the G7 emphasised that it is a community of values that cannot accept a breach of international law. That is why the G7 met in Brussels for a summit on 4 and 5 June 2014 instead of taking part in the planned G8 summit in Sochi, Russia.
How did the G7/G8 originate?
How did the G7/G8 originate?
In 1975 the then French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and the then German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt invited other countries to join them for the first World Economic Summit, which later evolved into the G7 and then the G8. Six heads of state and government met for what was known as a fireplace meeting at the Château de Rambouillet in France.
The other founding members of this Group of Six (G6) were the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan and the United States of America. When Canada joined in 1976, it became the Group of Seven (G7). Russia became the eighth member at the 1998 Summit in Birmingham, UK, turning the G7 into the G8.
Why will there be no G8 Summit? Why is Russia not taking part?
Why were these summits felt to be necessary?
Because of the economic problems the countries were faced with in the 1970s: the first oil crisis and the breakdown of the system of fixed currency exchange rates. The first meeting served to exchange ideas on possible solutions. The countries taking part reached agreement on international economic policy and first measures for reversing the ongoing global economic downturn.
Why do the leaders meet in such remote places as Schloss Elmau and not in a capital city like Berlin?
G7 summit meetings are not ceremonious state visits that follow a strict protocol and have huge delegations and predetermined procedures. The focus is on an intensive exchange between those taking part. Each participant is to be able to talk to each of the others in a relaxed atmosphere.
Why can’t they simply hold a web conference?
Web conferences are used to exchange facts. They are not conducive to creating the informal, relaxed atmosphere in which ideas are formed and trust is established. The event would take on a completely different character.
What issues will be on the agenda in Elmau?
The global economy, as well as key issues of foreign, security and development policy are on each G7 agenda. The two big UN conferences that will be held in 2015 will also be high on the agenda: The international climate conference in Paris in late November/early December at which a new international climate convention is to be negotiated, and the conference on the post-2015 agenda for sustainable development that will be held in September and at which new development and sustainability goals for the period after 2015 are to be adopted.
On Germany’s initiative other topics such as trade, environmental and health issues, gender equality and security of energy supply will also be discussed at the summit in Schloss Elmau.
More about the agenda
Will there be meetings other than that between the heads of state and government?
The following meetings of G7 ministers are planned in the run-up to the summit in Schloss Elmau as part of the German G7 Presidency:
- A meeting of the G7 foreign ministers in Lübeck on 14/15 April 2015,
- A meeting of the G7 energy ministers in Hamburg on 11/12 May 2015,
- A meeting of the G7 finance ministers in Dresden from 27 to 29 May 2015.
Have only members of the G7 been invited to the summit?
Other guests will be invited to the summit of the heads of state and government to discuss specific topics as part of what is known as the expanded dialogue. There is a long tradition of involving third countries and international organisations in G7 summits. The heads of state and government of various African nations are invited to one of the sessions. The G7 in Schloss Elmau will support the African states in their reform efforts. The aim is to contribute to boosting peace, security, growth and sustainable development in Africa.
Before the summit in Elmau the German Chancellor will be meeting representatives from business, the scientific community, trade unions, non-governmental organisations and young people from the G7 countries.
Why will the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council be there?
The first meetings between the European Community and the G7 were held in London in 1977. Since the Ottawa Summit in 1981 the European Commission has regularly attended all the working sessions. The EU shares all the G7’s values and is itself an important economic factor.
Why is the EU only a participant?
Because the EU, unlike the other members of the G7, is a supranational organisation and not a sovereign state. However, it has the same privileges and obligations.
The EU is one of the world’s key economic areas. It is also increasingly addressing security policy issues.
How much will the G7 Summit 2015 cost?
It is not yet clear how much the G7 Summit 2015 will actually cost, and that won’t become apparent until after the summit is over.
How does the G7 work?
The G7 is not an international organisation, but what is known as an unofficial forum. That means that it does not adopt resolutions that have direct legal effect. The G7 has neither its own administrative apparatus with a permanent secretariat nor someone who acts as its members’ permanent representative. That is why the rotating presidency is so important.
How does the G7 reach its decisions?
The G7 do not reach decisions by majority vote. The countries have to reach unanimous agreement on their summit declaration. Even if the decisions are not legally binding, their global impact should not be underestimated.
What can the G7 achieve?
The decisions the G7 takes in full view of the world have a huge political impact. Experts refer to this as their binding effect. At home, the heads of state and government are also measured by what they achieve and agree at G7 meetings.
Who prepares the summit meetings?
The country holding the presidency is responsible for organising the annual summit and for drawing up the summit agenda. The governments’ chief negotiators, known as sherpas, do the preparatory and follow-up work. They establish on which issues agreement can be reached and where there is still need for discussion, and they prepare the final declarations containing the key outcomes of the summit.
Who is Germany’s sherpa?
Germany’s sherpa is the economic and financial policy advisor to the German Chancellor, Lars-Hendrik Röller. He is supported by the sherpa staff, which is based in the Federal Chancellery. The sherpa and his staff draw up the agenda for the German G7 Presidency, in close cooperation with the federal ministries.
Is the meeting at Schloss Elmau the first summit to be held in Germany?
No. Germany has previously hosted five G7/G8 summits:
- in Bonn in 1978
- in Bonn in 1985
- in Munich in 1992
- in Cologne in 1999
- in Heiligendamm in 2007
Why was Schloss Elmau chosen as the venue for the summit?
Schloss Elmau meets all the traffic- and security-related requirements of a G7 summit venue. It is a well-known fact that a good atmosphere is conducive to creating an environment for successful talks.
What long-term effects will the summit have on tourism in Bavaria?
The G7 Summit 2015 provides an excellent opportunity to show that Bavaria is a perfect host and attractive tourist destination. The impression they get of Bavaria will promote international interest in the region, generating free, worldwide advertising.
Will the region also benefit in the short term?
The G7 Summit 2015 will ensure that those accompanying people to the summit, the security forces, journalists and other representatives of the media, as well as logistics and service providers will book an estimated several thousand hotel beds.
Will consideration be given to nature conservation?
One of the reasons why Elmau was chosen was because nature and culture blend wonderfully there. The Bavarian State Government is aware of the huge significance of the natural landscape around Elmau. Unavoidable impacts will be kept to an absolutely essential minimum. Where they cannot be avoided in a particular case, countermeasures will be taken so as to ensure a neutral ecological balance.
Who is responsible for security during the G7 summit?
The Bavarian police will be responsible for security during the summit. They will be backed up by the Federal Police.
How many police officers will be on duty?
There will be as many police officers on duty as are necessary to guarantee security at the event.
Are there likely to be any demonstrations during the summit?
The right to assemble peacefully and unarmed is a basic right laid down in the German Constitution, the Basic Law. The police in Bavaria will guarantee that the summit proceeds safely, the population is protected and the right to freedom of assembly is observed.
Will the local population be restricted in their movements?
Security-related restrictions should be few and of short duration. They will be kept to an absolutely essential minimum and will take account of nature and landscape protection.
Will there be road traffic restrictions?
Some road blocks will be necessary for certain periods of time. They will lead to restrictions both in regard to private and public transport. However, traffic obstructions will be kept to an absolutely essential minimum.
How will the public be kept up to date?
The Bavarian Ministry of the Interior and the security authorities will keep the population up to date on all obstructions to traffic: locally, via the media and on the internet.
The police have also set up a hotline. Locals, tourists and businesses can ring 0800-7766330 free of charge on weekdays between 9 am and 7 pm to ask the police any questions they may have.