History of the G8

Posted by Scriptaty | 1:10 AM

The G8 has its roots in the 1973 oil crisis and subsequent global recession. It led the U.S. to form the Library Group, a gathering of senior financial officials from the U.S., Europe, and Japan, to discuss economic issues. In 1975 French President ValĂ©ry Giscard d’Estaing invited the heads of state of six major industrialized democracies to a summit and proposed regular meetings.

The participants agreed to an annual meeting organized under a rotating presidency, forming what was then the Group of Six: France, West Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, and the U.S. At the following year’s summit in Puerto Rico, it became the Group of Seven (G7) when Canada joined.

Following the end of the Cold War in 1991, Russia (then the USSR) began to meet with the G7 after the main summit. Russia was allowed to participate more fully beginning at the 1998 Birmingham summit. At the urging of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the Group of Seven became the Group of Eight, because the Russians began attending most sessions.

The presidency of the G8 rotates among the member states annually, with the new president assuming responsibility on the first of the year.

The country holding the presidency hosts a series of less important meetings leading up to a mid-year, three day summit with the heads of state. This year, the summit will be held July 6 to 9 in Gleneagle, Scotland.

They discuss health, law enforcement, labor, and other issues of mutual or global concern. Some meetings feature only the original G7, and there also is a “G8+5” meeting for the finance ministers of the full G8, as well as China, Mexico, India, Brazil, and South Africa.

The annual summits are often the focus of anti-globalization movement protests, such as what occurred at the 27th G8 summit in Genoa in 2001.

The location of the summit meetings rotates annually among member countries in the order in which each nation joined the group: France, U.S., UK, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada, Russia.