Article - International Cooperation

World Economic Summit (G7/G20) 

Introduction

Source: istockphoto.com/studiocasper

© istockphoto.com/studiocasper

The heads of state and government of the world’s seven leading industrial nations (G7) and of the twenty most politically and economically influential countries (G20) come together for annual meetings held at the invitation of the Presidency for that year. The group adopts a summit declaration (Communiqué) at each meeting, summing up its most important results. The issues to be discussed at the summit are prepared by the chief negotiators of the governments, also known as ‘sherpas’. As far as Germany is concerned, the Federal Chancellery has the lead responsibility for preparing the G7 and G20 summits. State Secretary Dr Jörg Kukies, Commissioner of the Federal Chancellor for the G7/G20 Summits, is the German sherpa. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action is involved in the G7/G20 summits in particular in the fields of climate and energy policy, trade policy and tourism.

The heads of state and government of the world’s seven leading industrial nations (G7) and of the twenty most politically and economically influential countries (G20) come together for annual meetings held at the invitation of the Presidency for that year. The group adopts a summit declaration (Communiqué) at each meeting, summing up its most important results. The agenda for the summit is drafted by the chief negotiators of the governments, also known as ‘sherpas’. As far as Germany is concerned, the Federal Chancellery has the lead responsibility for preparing the G7 and G20 summits. The sherpa for Germany (personal representative of the Federal Chancellor for the G7/G20) is Prof. Dr. Lars-Hendrik Röller, the Federal Chancellor’s economic and financial policy adviser. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is also involved in the G7 and G20 processes, particularly where these touch upon digitisation, trade and investment policy, and energy policy.

The Group of 7

The Group of 7 (G7) is an informal forum established by the heads of state and government of the world’s leading industrial nations, namely Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The first ‘World Economic Summit’, a precursor to what later became the G7 summit, was held in 1975 at the initiative of former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. The meeting at Château Rambouillet in France was held in response to the oil crisis and the breakdown of the Bretton Woods monetary system and brought together representatives from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. When Canada joined the group in 1976, the G7 was born. Since 1981, the European Union (or, at that time, the European Communities) has also been a regular attendee of the summit meetings. From 1998 to 2014, the G7 held meetings together with Russia in a ‘group of eight’, or G8. In response to Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in breach of international law, the G7 states declared on the margins of the Nuclear Security Summit at The Hague on 24 March 2014 that they would suspend their participation in the G8 format.

The G7 agenda has a strong focus on the global economy, trade policy, foreign and security policy, development, and energy and climate policy. In addition to the meetings of the heads of state and government, there are also regular meetings of the G7 Ministers of Finance and of the Governors of the Central Banks, who convene for discussions on fiscal and monetary policy. The foreign ministers also meet in the run-up to the annual summit meetings to address the latest challenges in foreign and security policy. Depending on the agenda set by the respective presidency, there are also meetings between other government ministers from the G7.

In 2020, the United States took over the G7 Presidency from France. Germany last held the G7 Presidency in 2015. For further information please click here (in German).

The Group of 20

Following the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the Group of 20 (G20) Ministers of Finance and the Governors of the Central Banks have held regular meetings every year since 1998 in order to discuss how to foster greater global financial stability. Since the 2008 financial and economic crisis, the G20 heads of state and government have held annual meetings with a view to addressing global challenges together. The G20 since has become the leading informal format for intergovernmental cooperation at leaders’ level. The G20 agenda has been broadened to include issues of climate and energy policy, international trade, tourism, health policy and digitisation, for instance, in addition to fiscal and economic policy.

The G20 comprises 19 countries, the EU (as representative of its member states, provided that they are not themselves members of the G20) and the African Union (AU), which has been a member since 2023. The G20 member countries are 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. Also invited to the meetings are Spain, as a permanent guest, and the heads of the 3G group, the African Union, NEPAD, and the APEC. Depending on the issues being dealt with, other international organisations are also invited to take part in the G20 process and to provide valuable input to its work. This notably applies to the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the OECD, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Financial Stability Board, the International Labour Organization and the World Health Organization. The country holding the G20 Presidency can also decide to invite other countries to participate as guests.

On 1 December 2022, India took over the G20 Presidency for 2023 from Indonesia. On 1 December 2023, Brazil will take over the G20 Presidency for 2024.

You can find official documents of the G20 summits and statements in the German and English languages here.