What Is The G7 Summit? Know Its History, Members, Agenda

The G7 is an informal bloc and takes no mandatory decisions, so the leaders’ declarations at the end of the summit are not binding.

G7 leaders in Italy | Photo: AP

The leaders of the Group of seven leading industrialised nations have gathered in Italy's Apulia region for the annual G7 summit, amid a backdrop of global tensions and challenges. Representatives from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US are at the summit to discuss issues including the wars in Ukraine and Gaza. The G7 summit will also involve leaders from Africa and the Indo-Pacific region, and will discuss economic cooperation with developing countries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the summit, with India having been invited as an Outreach Country. It will mark his first foreign visit in his third term as PM.

What Is G7?

The G7, also known as the Group of Seven, is a grouping of industrialised nations that meets annually to discuss global issues. It was previously known as the G8 until Russia was excluded in 2014 because of its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. There is no formal criteria for membership, but all participants are wealthy democracies. 

History Of G7

The G7 was formed in 1976 as a response to the oil price shocks of the 1970s. The original members were France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US. Canada joined in 1978, and Russia eventually joined in 1998 — and its inclusion was meant as a signal of cooperation between East and West after the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991.

The G7 is an informal bloc and takes no mandatory decisions, so the leaders’ declarations at the end of the summit are not binding.

G7 Member Countries

The G7 consists of seven member countries:

- United States

- United Kingdom

- Germany

- Canada

- Japan

- France

- Italy

Together, these countries represent 40 per cent of global GDP and 10 per cent of the world's population.

The European Union has also been involved in G7 work since 1977 and is represented at the summit by the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council. While the EU is not an official member, it has been gradually included in all political discussions on the agenda.

G7 Vs G20: What's The Difference?

The G7 and G20 have similar names and functions, but there are key differences. The G7 focuses mainly on political issues, while the G20 is a broader group that focuses on the global economy. The G20, also known as the "Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy", represents 80 per cent of global GDP.

It gathers leaders from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the European Union.

G7 Summit 2024 Global Guests

The G7 summit, once a closed-door gathering of Western leaders, has evolved to include guests from beyond the traditional member countries. This year, host country Italy has extended invitations to a diverse group of leaders to join certain sessions.

Guests include Pope Francis; Javier Milei, the populist president of Argentina; Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the Brazilian president and Narendra Modi.

G7 Summit 2024 | Weakened Leaders Of The West Gather In Italy

The G7 summit 2024 in Italy is going to discuss several issues including defending the "rules-based international system" amid Russia's aggression towards Ukraine, addressing the Israel-Gaza war, and strengthening partnerships with developing nations, particularly in Africa.

Key priorities include migration, climate change, food security, and the implications of artificial intelligence (AI) for humanity. However, the leaders are facing unprecedented challenges from discontented electorates, and are under pressure to deliver concrete results.

According to a Politico article, ‘6 lame ducks and Giorgia Meloni: Meet the G7 class of 2024’, this year's G7 summit features "arguably the weakest gathering of leaders the group has mustered for years". Most attendees are distracted by elections or domestic crises, disillusioned by years in office, or clinging desperately to power.

French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak are fighting election campaigns, while German Chancellor Olaf Scholz faces potential ousting after defeat in the European Parliament election. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spoken openly about quitting his "crazy" job, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida faces a leadership contest later this year.

Only Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni appears to be in a secure position, having triumphed in Italy's European election last weekend.