Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Germany to attend the Group of Seven (G7) Summit at Schloss Elmau, a century-old retreat in a nature reserve in the Bavarian Alps. The Prime Minister is expected to speak in two sessions that include Environment, Energy, Climate, Food Security, Health, Gender Equality, and Democracy, the Ministry of External Affairs said earlier this week. He will also hold bilateral meetings with leaders of some of the participating countries.
Group of 7
The G7 is an informal forum of leading industrialised nations, which include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Representatives of the European Union are always present at the annual meeting of the heads of state and government of the G7. Germany holds the presidency of the G7 in 2022.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has invited India, along with Argentina, Indonesia, Senegal, and South Africa to the 2022 Summit as partner countries. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, will take part virtually on June 27, the G7 presidency has announced.
A number of international organisations, including the United Nations, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank, are also participating in the Summit.
G6, G8, G7
A short history of the grouping on the G7 Germany website says the first “World Economic Summit”, which later became the G7, was launched in 1975 by former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and then Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. The heads of state and government of Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan and the US — a Group of Six — met for a fireside chat at Rambouillet Castle in France.
The participants exchanged ideas on the economic problems of the 1970s — the first oil crisis and the collapse of the system of fixed exchange rates (Bretton Woods) — and agreed on international economic policy and initial measures to fight the global downturn.
In 1976, Canada was added to the group, and the first G7 met in Puerto Rico. The first talks between the then European Community and the G7 took place in London in 1977, and since the Ottawa Summit of 1981, the European Community (now European Union) has been part of all working sessions.
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In the 1980s, the interest of the G7 expanded to include foreign and security policy issues. Then Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev was invited to talks on the sidelines of the London Summit in 1991. In 1998, the Group of Eight was constituted as Russia became a member. Russia was thrown out of the group after its violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in 2014.
Germany has the G7 presidency for the seventh time this year. Japan will be president in 2023.
As of 2022, G7 countries make up 10% of the world’s population, 31% of global GDP, and 21% of global carbon dioxide emissions, according to the Summit website. China and India, the two most populous countries with among the largest GDP figures in the world, are not part of the grouping.
In all G7 countries, annual public sector expenditure exceeded revenue in 2021. Most G7 countries also had a high level of gross debt, especially Japan (263% of GDP), Italy (151%) and the US (133%).
The G7 countries are important players in global trade. The US and Germany in particular are major export nations. Both sold goods worth well over a trillion US dollars abroad in 2021.