The 47th G7 summit started in England’s Cornwall on Friday after nearly two years of being virtual. The summit of the leaders of the G7, a group of major wealthy powers, was created in 1975. The G7 was originally established for the leading democracies in the world to discuss the global economy, however, now it has expanded its scope to issues such as peace and security, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The summit was due to be held in the United States last year, however, it was cancelled due to the prevailing pandemic. The G7 members include Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

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This year, the host, the United Kingdom has invited four more nations to the summit, namely India, Australia, the Republic of Korea and South Africa. The UK has hosted G7 six times since its formation in the 1970s, starting with the third meeting in 1977, hosted by Prime Minister James Callaghan.   

Origin and History of G7

The first G7 meeting took in France’s Rambouillet after oil prices had started to soar due to the first oil shock. At that time, six current members were in the G6 summit. Canada joined the group was a year later and became G7. 

France first initiated the summit as president Valery Giscard d’Estaing wanted to elevate to the top-level meetings already held by the countries’ finance ministers on burning economic issues, AFP reported.

G7 meeting got a more political slant during the 1980s when tensions started flaring up between the East and West during the Cold War. 

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia from 1992 started attending the summit as a guest. However, in 1998, Russia formally joined the G7 group, and it was officially renamed G8. 

But in 2014, Russia was removed from the group, and G8 became G7 after Vladimir Putin-led nation annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.

Meanwhile, from 1999, the G8 was started being criticised for being an exclusive club after which the rich powers started meeting with emerging countries in the new “G20” grouping.