G7 (The Group of Seven) is an international intergovernmental economic organization. It consists of seven countries, namely Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These countries are the largest International Monetary Fund (IMF) advanced economies in the world. The G7 summit includes the seven heads of government from these seven countries.
Forum for world’s major industrialized countries
This concept emerged before the 1973 oil crisis and was for a forum for the world’s major industrialized countries. On 25th March 1973, George Shultz, the then US Secretary of the Treasury, had convened an informal gathering of finance ministers before an upcoming meeting that took place in Washington DC. This informal meeting included Helmut Schmidt from West Germany, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing from France, and Anthony Barber from the United Kingdom. The meeting took place in the library, and taking its name from this, the original group was known as the Library Group. At the World Bank IMF meetings in mid-1973, Japan was also added to the group upon an agreement. It was then known as the Group of Five. In 1974, Italy also joined the group. In 1976, Pierre Trudeau, the then Prime Minister of Canada, was invited to join the group. The European Union had been represented by the President of the European Commission. Since then, the group has been known as the Group of Seven (G7).
The G7 summit was established to facilitate shared macroeconomic initiatives done by its members in response to the collapse of the exchange rate in 1971. This happened during the time of the Nixon shock, the ensuing recession, and the energy crisis of 1970.
G7 summit to G11
The present American President, Donald Trump, is turning the G7 summit to a G11 one, this year. During the global gatherings, the Trump era has been witnessing contentious affairs. He has been proposing to add South Korea, Australia, Russia, and India for the event this year. It is scheduled to take place during the fall at Camp David. He has also discussed the G7 summit with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
For G11, he wants to include big developing nations, because he feels G7 doesn’t reflect the entire world anymore. Trump has not given much interest in the chairmanship of the group this year. France had done most of the heavy lifting to set up a meeting for the G7 call during the pandemic. While Trump had no power to change the G7’s membership unilaterally, he could invite anyone he wanted for the sideline meetings.
Re-invitation of Russia
Trump had already talked about the re-invitation of Russia back to this group, which had been kicked out of the bloc during the previous administration of former President Obama. The struggle he ensued to bring back Russia is quite controversial. Over the annexation of Crimea, Moscow was expelled from the G8 in the year 2014. Even though other members resisted its return, Trump has been advancing the foreign policy of the US adversary which was accused of interfering in the election of the year 2016, for him to win. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are all strongmen like Trump and have often been accused of violating democratic principles that G7 promotes.
Rebuffing of Trump’s bid
Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, had already rebuffed Trump’s bid to convene the meeting in the capital of the United States, Washington DC this month, as he built a false narrative that life would be back to normal even when the pandemic ranges. Trump said that the G7 summit could happen before the UN General Assembly session in September.
Trump said, “I don’t feel that as a G7, it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries. So, it might be a G10, G11, and could be after the election is over. He went on to say, “Maybe I’ll do it after the election. Think a good time would be before the election.” He stated this to the reporters on Air Force One on his way back to Florida, where he witnessed the historic launch of the first manned mission into space by SpaceX, the company that is owned by Elon Musk.
The US presidential election is scheduled for 3rd November. Trump seeks a second term in the White House. Trump said that the G7 summit could take place the weekend before or after the General Assembly of the UN, which has been currently scheduled for 15th September.
Bringing together of countries
The White House Director of Strategic Communications, Alyssa Alexandra Farah, said that bringing together of countries brings out the traditional allies to talk about how to deal with the future of China. The tension existing between the United States and China is escalating over the course of the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, with America bringing in the accusation of Beijing not demanding a probe into the origins of the virus. China had rejected all the US allegations of a cover-up regarding the present outbreak.
The COVID-19 has infected over six million people and has claimed more than 369,000 lives worldwide. The worst-hit country in the world is the United States, with more than 1.7 million confirmed cases of the present pandemic and with deaths over 103,000.
India and G7
For the summit, the president of the group normally invites heads of states of one or two countries for attending the meeting as a special invitee. The President of France, Emanuel Macron, had invited the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the G7 summit. Trump’s talking about extending the invitation to India for the next G7 summit is reflective of the growing international stature of the country.
Trump had not endeared himself to the leaders of the G7, particularly to the German Chancellor, the French President, and the Canadian President. His brusque and crude manner of speaking, particularly in telling his allies to settle their accounts with NATO as well as hike their defense spending has irked them.