The Group of Seven (G7) is an informal forum of seven leading industrial nations and democracies, Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, and the European Union. The G7 – like the G20 – is not an international organisation. It does not have its own administrative apparatus, nor are its members permanently represented in any way. Due to the G7’s informal structures, the country that holds the Presidency has a particularly important role to play.
It is responsible for organising the summit and setting the agenda. At the annual summit meetings, the G7 heads of state and government take the opportunity to engage in face-to-face talks where they exchange views on global political issues and agree on common positions and goals. The Presidency rotates between members on an annual basis. Germany takes over the Presidency in 2022 from the UK (2021) and will be succeeded by Japan (2023).
The G7 sees itself as an association of nations bound by shared values whose members are committed to freedom and human rights, democracy and the rule of law, prosperity and sustainable development. Given the economic and political weight of G7 members, the group’s decisions influence numerous other countries and international organisations. Although the decisions made by the G7 are not legally binding, they do have a tangible political impact.
The summit meeting of the heads of state and government is considered the highlight of every G7 Presidency. However, the G7 process involves much more than this – it is in fact a year-round operation. The meetings held as part of various specialised ministerial processes have a key role to play here.
In working groups at expert level and at meetings between ministers with specific portfolios, the G7 countries agree on joint positions and initiatives in various policy areas. The issues to be discussed at the summit are prepared by the so-called Sherpas – the chief negotiators of the heads of state and government. The outcomes are then set down in communiqués issued by the heads of state and government.
Dialogue with civil society and partner countries is an important concern for the Federal Government. Involvement in the G7 working process has a long tradition and is the responsibility of the respective G7 Presidency.
Under Germany’s Presidency in 2022, representatives from business (Business7), non-governmental organisations (Civil7), trade unions (Labour7), science (Science7), think tanks (Think7), women (Women7) and youth (Youth7) will be given the opportunity to comment on G7 issues and make recommendations to the heads of state and government through various dialogue forums.
In addition, host countries and representatives of selected international organisations are regularly invited to the G7 Summit. The partner countries this year are Argentina, India, Indonesia, Senegal and South Africa.
The G7 Summit paves the way for numerous multilateral initiatives and agreements. In the first few years after the G7 had been established in 1975, the focus was mainly on the global economy, but in the 1980s this was expanded to include foreign policy and security policy. Nowadays, a wide range of different economic, climate, environmental and socio-political issues are discussed.
In recent years, the G7 has achieved many advances such as stabilising the financial markets, reforming international corporate taxation (especially for large digital corporations), containing AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, strengthening women’s rights and combating climate change. Currently, the G7 is also involved in tackling the coronavirus pandemic, not least by distributing vaccine doses to developing countries and promoting global vaccine production.
Germany takes over the G7 Presidency on 1 January 2022 and will host the annual meeting of G7 heads of state and government. The G7 Summit 2022 will take place from 26 to 28 June 2022 at Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps – as did the last G7 Summit under the German Presidency in June 2015. Schloss Elmau meets all the logistical and security requirements of a G7 Summit venue. With its scenic backdrop, Schloss Elmau has provided an attractive setting for talks and meetings between the heads of state and government in the past. The pandemic measures adopted at state and federal level will apply to all participants during the talks.
“Progress towards an equitable world” – this is the goal the German G7 Presidency has set itself for its programme.
The G7 Presidency provides an opportunity for the Federal Government to get proactively involved in shaping global issues right at the beginning of the legislative period. It intends to make the most of this opportunity to join forces with international partners to address key issues relating to multilateral cooperation, cohesion within and between societies, and shared challenges. The priorities of the German G7 agenda are: Sustainable Planet, Economic Stability and Transformation, Healthy Lives, Investment in a Better Future and Stronger Together. For further information, see the and this article.
The G7 Summit is to be held in Germany for the seventh time in 2022. The G7 heads of state and government met for the first time under the German Presidency in Bonn on 16-17 July 1978.
Other summits held in Germany:
- 1985 G7 Summit in Bonn
- 1992 G7 Summit in Munich
- 1999 G8 Summit in Cologne
- 2007 G8 Summit in Heiligendamm
- 2015 G7 Summit at Schloss Elmau
G7/G8: Between 1998 and 2014, the Group of Eight (G8) comprised the G7 states plus Russia. In response to Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian Crimea, the G7 decided to suspend the G8 format in 2014 until further notice.
Sustainability is not just a key issue on the 2022 G7 agenda. It is also an important organisational concern on site: with its numerous events, every G7 Presidency leaves a carbon footprint – not least as a result of participants' travel to and from the event, accommodation, catering and local transport. This is why the Federal Government has committed to ensuring that the entire G7 Presidency and the Summit of the G7 Heads of State and Government at Schloss Elmau will be as sustainable and as climate-neutral as possible. Proven sustainability standards are to be taken into account from the outset, while unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions are to be offset. The underlying principle is: avoid, reduce, offset. Find out here now the German G7 Presidency is living up to its responsibility for sustainable development.