Group of Seven
Who is in the G7 and what does it stand for? How does the G7 work and what has it achieved to date? The most important questions and answers at a glance.
The Group of Seven (G7) is an informal forum of the seven leading industrialised nations and democracies: Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, 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 took over the Presidency from the UK (2021) in 2022 and was 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. 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 G7 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.
Germany held the G7 Presidency for the seventh time in 2022. The Summit took place at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria from 26 to 28 June 2022. Further information and the summit documents can be found here: official 2022 G7 Presidency website.
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) were given the opportunity to comment on G7 issues and make recommendations to the heads of state and government through various dialogue forums.
In addition, partner countries and representatives of selected international organisations are regularly invited to attend the G7 Summit. Germany invited the partner countries Argentina, India, Indonesia, Senegal and South Africa in 2022. Owing to the particular political situation, the Federal Government also invited Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to attend the 2022 G7 Summit virtually.
The following international organisations participated in the G7 Summit under the German Presidency: the United Nations, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC).
Germany held the G7 Presidency and hosted the annual meeting of G7 heads of state and government in 2022. The G7 Summit 2022 took 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 previously proved to be an attractive location for talks and meetings between the heads of state and government. Further information and the summit documents can be found here: official 2022 G7 Presidency website.
As part of the G7, the Federal Government is committed to active involvement in global issues. It makes the most of this forum to join forces with international partners to address key issues relating to multilateral cooperation, cohesion within and between societies, and shared challenges.
The German G7 Presidency year of 2022 was marked by the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. The wide-ranging global consequences of this war, in particular its impact on global food and energy security and ongoing support for Ukraine, were among the issues addressed by the G7.
At the same time, the G7 focused on the motto of the German G7 Presidency – “Progress towards an equitable world” – as well as championing long-term concerns such as environmental and climate protection, economic stability and transformation, strengthening global health and investment worldwide, and supporting democracies and the rules-based international order.
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.
The G7 Summit was 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.
The G7 in figures in 2022 – business and finance, foreign trade, energy – further information, statistics and figures about the G7 are available from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis).