G7: countries, function, importance, history, criticism

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O G7 (Group of Seven)is an informal forum for dialogue that brings together the seven most developed and industrialized countries in the world:

  • Canada;

  • U.S;

  • UK;

  • France;

  • Italy;

  • Germany;

  • Japan.

Created in the 1970s, the group annually holds the G7 Summit to discuss contemporary issues of great importance to the international community. Subjects covered range from economic, political and security issues, such as the War between Russia and Ukraine, to health issues, as was the case with the covid-19 pandemic.

In addition to the seven official members, the European Union participates in the G7 as an unnumbered member. Other countries are also invited to join the group's meetings. Brazil has participated in seven G7 summits in this capacity, the most recent being held in Hiroshima, Japan, in 2023.

Read too:New World Order — the worldwide geopolitical structure characterized by the emergence of multiple centers of power

Summary about the G7

  • The G7 is an informal dialogue forum made up of the seven most developed and industrialized countries in the world.

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  • The countries that are part of the G7 are: Canada, United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany and Japan.

  • The European Union is also part of the G7 as an unnumbered member.

  • The group discusses current issues of great importance to the international community, which revolve around axes such as the global economy, international security and human rights.

  • The G7 has a rotating presidency. The country that assumes this post is responsible for organizing the G7 Summit.

  • The G7 Summit is the forum's annual meeting. All members and invited countries and international organizations participate in it.

  • Between 1997 and 2014, Russia was part of the forum, which was then called the G8. The country was suspended after the annexation of the territory of Crimea.

  • Brazil has participated in seven G7 summits as a guest, the most recent being the summit in Hiroshima, Japan, in 2023.

  • Criticism of the G7 deals, among other reasons, with decision-making that benefits the group's countries to the detriment of less developed nations.

Which countries are part of the G7?

The Group of Seven (G7), as the name indicates, is officially formed by seven countries:

  • Canada;

  • U.S;

  • UK;

  • France;

  • Italy;

  • Germany;

  • Japan.

Important:In addition to the member countries of the forum, the European Union (political and economic bloc made up of 27 European nations) was invited to join the group in 1977 and has since made up the G7 as an unnumbered member. During the group's summits, heads of state and representatives of other countries that are not officially part of the G7 are invited to participate in some of the meetings.

What is the role of the G7?

The G7's role is to topic discussion current and of great importance to the community International, with a view to decision-making and the elaboration of coordinated policies that can help resolve conflicts and solve problems. Topics related to the global economy, international security and human rights, for example, are recurrent in the group's meetings.

How important is the G7?

The G7 brings together the seven nations with the greatest power of influence in international geopolitics, in addition to having dominant economies that account for approximately 45% of the world's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The forum also corresponds to an environment where these countries of the so-called Global North (developed countries) can coordinate their actions on contemporary problems and develop policies in different areas with a view to common.

Given this, we can say that the G7 is important because decisions taken by its members have global repercussions andaffect all countries directly or indirectly, impacting politics, the economy or areas such as health and the environment.

G7 Summit

Working meeting held during the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, in the year 2023. [1]
Working meeting held during the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, in the year 2023. [1]

The G7 Summit is the annual meeting of heads of state and leaders of the seven member countries of the forum, including the European Union. Several meetings are held during the G7 summit, in which contemporary issues of global importance are discussed.

During the first meetings, the economy was the main focus of the forum countries. Currently, there is a greater diversity of topics addressed. At the most recent summits, the covid-19 pandemic, the War between Russia and Ukraine and global climate issues were some of the topics addressed. At the end of each meeting a document is produced official that summarizes all the points discussed during the meetings. This same report records the decisions taken by the members of the group.

Each summit takes place in the country that currently holds the presidency of the forum. The role of G7 president rotates and changes every year. Japan currently holds the presidency, which is why the 2023 summit was held in the country, more precisely in the city of Hiroshima.

The G7 Summit is not only attended by forum members. It is common for leaders of other countries and international organizations (UN, WTO, OECD, IMF, etc.) to be invited to follow some of the discussions and participate in certain work meetings. At the group's last meeting, countries like Australia, Brazil, Vietnam, Cameroon and South Korea were among the guests.

What are the differences between the G7 and the G8?

The main difference between the G7 and the G8 is the presence of Russia. The country officially joined the forum in 1998, when it became the Group of Eight (G8). However, the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 led to the country being suspended from the group indefinitely.

Leaders of the G8 countries and the European Union during the Summit that took place in 2000 in Japan. [2]
Leaders of the G8 countries and the European Union during the summit that took place in 2000 in Japan. [2]

It is important to remember here that Crimea is a peninsula located south of Ukraine and was part of the Ukrainian territory as an autonomous republic since 1954. The developments of Tensions between Russia and Ukraine culminated in the war that began in 2022 and is still ongoing. This conflict was on the agenda of the 2023 G7 Summit and generated new sanctions imposed on Russia.

History of the G7

The history of the G7 begins in the 1970s, when global geopolitics and, mainly, developed countries were marked by political crises internal to the territories and by the first oil shock, which directly affected the stability of the market International. In 1973, some informal meetings took place between representatives of the United States, France, United Kingdom and West Germany, in which discussions revolved mainly around economic topics.

In 1975, the then French President, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, and the Prime Minister of Germany, Helmut Schmidt, called a meeting to discuss topics relevant to the economic context of the time. The meeting was held at the Castle of Rambouillet and was attended by five countries in addition to France: the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Italy. This was considered the first and only G6 meeting. The United States requested Canada's entry into the forum in 1976, and that same year, the first G7 summit took place.

Russia joined the G7 meetings in 1994, having integrated most of the discussions at the summit in Denver (United States) in 1997. In the following year, the G7 became the G8 due to Russia's participation. As we saw earlier, the country ceased to be a member of the forum after the annexation from Crimea.

See too: G20 — the main forum for international economic cooperation

Brazil and the G7

Brazil was again invited to participate in the G7 summit after a 14-year hiatus. The invitation was to participate in the meeting that took place in 2023 in the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Analysts see this move as an attempt by the developed countries of the G7 to get closer to the emerging countries, which is why the leaders of other developing economies were also guests. Other interpretations also associate Brazil's participation with dialogues about the conflict in Europe between Russia and Ukraine.

World leaders, among members and guests, at the G8 Summit, held in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in 2006. [3]
World leaders, among members and guests, at the G8 Summit, held in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in 2006. [3]

Brazil's first participation in a G7 summit (which at the time was G8) took place in 2003, during the meeting held in France and in the same period in which the Brazilian economy was emerging on the international scene, gaining more and more space among emerging countries. New participations took place in 2005 (United Kingdom), in 2006 (Russia), in 2007 (Germany), in 2008 (Japan) and in 2009 (Italy). Until now, the country already was part of seven G7 summits.

Criticism of the G7

The G7 is a group made up of some of the largest and most influential economies in the world. These countries play a central role in the geopolitical scenario, and The main criticisms are directed to the fact dIt is to thedecisions to be made based on your own interests, leaving aside the negative impacts and difficulties that underdeveloped countries and other nations around the world may have.

Another point criticized is the fact that China does not integrate the forum as a member, although it is the largest emerging economy and the second largest economy in the world, behind only the United States.

It is also discussed the fact that many of the issues raised by G7 members during their meetings tlived origin in the very actions of these countries in the historical past, especially in relation to the exploitation of natural resources in other territories.

image credits

[1] Ricardo Stuckert / Planalto Palace / Wikimedia Commons (reproduction)

[2] Kremlin / Office of Press and Presidential Information / Wikimedia Commons (reproduction)

[3] Kremlin / Office of Press and Presidential Information / Wikimedia Commons (reproduction)

Sources

AFP. The G7, an informal meeting of great powers. UOL News, 2018. Available in: https://noticias.uol.com.br/ultimas-noticias/afp/2018/06/09/o-g7-uma-reuniao-informal-de-grandes-potencias.htm.

AZEVEDO, Rayanne. The meaning of Brazil's return to the G7 after 14 years. Deutsche Welle (DW), 2023. Available in: https://www.dw.com/pt-br/o-significado-do-retorno-do-brasil-ao-g7-depois-de-14-anos/a-65678501.

BICKER, Laura. Why the G7 invited Brazil and 7 other countries to the summit in Japan. BBC News, 2023. Available in: https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/articles/c727yzypv8xo.

G7 Hiroshima Summit 2023. Available in: https://www.g7hiroshima.go.jp/en/.

LEBLANC, Paul. Find out what the G7 is and the importance of this summit of world leaders. CNN, 2021. Available in: https://www.cnnbrasil.com.br/internacional/saiba-o-que-e-o-g7-e-qual-a-importancia-dessa-cupula-de-lideres-mundiais/.

LUCCI, Elian Alabi. Territory and society in a globalized world, 2: secondary education. São Paulo: Saraiva, 2016.

ESSAY. Understand what the G7 is and what are the differences between the G8 and the G20. Folha de S.Paulo, 2023. Available in: https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/mundo/2023/05/entenda-o-que-e-o-g7-e-quais-sao-as-diferencas-para-o-g8-e-o-g20.shtml.

FEDERAL SENATE. Secom Communication Manual: G7 and G8. Federal Senate, [S.I.]. Available in: https://www12.senado.leg.br/manualdecomunicacao/guia-de-economia/g7-e-g8.

By Paloma Guitarrara
Geography Teacher

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