The Group of 7 (G7), is a group consisting of the finance ministers and central bank governors of seven advanced economies : Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States meeting to discuss primarily economic issues. The European Union is also represented within the G7. The G7 are the seven wealthiest major developed nations on Earth by national net wealth, representing more than 63% of the net global wealth ($241 trillion) according to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report October 2013. The IMF's Managing Director usually participates. The last meeting of the G7 took place in May 2013 in Aylesbury in the United Kingdom, with an emergency meeting in The Hague, Netherlands on March 24, 2014.
The G7's precursor was the 'Group of Six', founded in 1975 consisting of France, West Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States to monitor developments in the world economy and assess economic policies. In 1976 Canada became the seventh member, after which the name 'Group 7' or G7 was used. During 1986–87 the G7 with its finance ministers and central bank governors, superseded the G5 as the main policy coordination group, particularly following the Louvre Accord of February 1987, agreed by the G5 plus Canada and endorsed by the G7.
The organization was originally founded to facilitate shared macroeconomic initiatives by its members in response to the collapse of the exchange rate 1971, during the time of the Nixon Shock, the 1970s energy crisis and the ensuing recession.
Since 1975 the group meets annually on summit site to discuss economic policies; Since 1987, the G7 finance ministers have met at least semi-annually, up to 4 times a year at stand-alone meetings. Its work is supported
To discuss the global financial crisis of 2007-2010 the G7 met twice in in Washington, D.C. in 2008 and in February 2009 in Rome. The group of finance ministers pledged to take "all necessary steps" to stem the crisis.
On March 2, 2014, the G7 condemned "the Russian Federation's violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine." The G7 stated "that the International Monetary Fund(IMF) remains the institution best prepared to help Ukraine address its immediate economic challenges through policy advice and financing, conditioned on needed reforms", and that the G7 was "committed to mobilize rapid technical assistance to support Ukraine in addressing its macroeconomic, regulatory and anti-corruption challenges."
On March 24, 2014, the G7 convened an emergency meeting at the Catshuis, located in The Hague in response to the Russian Federation's annexation of Crimea. The Hague was chosen because all G7 leaders were already present to attend the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit, so this became the first G7 meeting neither taking place in a member nation nor having the host leader participating in the meeting.
In 1996 the G7 launched an initiative for the 42 heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC). In 1999, the G7 decided to get more directly involved in "managing the international monetary system" through theFinancial Stability Forum, formed earlier in 1999 and the G-20, established following the summit, to "promote dialogue between major industrial and emerging market countries". In 1999 the G7 announced their plan to cancel 90% of bilateral, and multilateral debt for the HIPC, totaling $100 billion. In 2005 the G7 announced, debt reductions of "up to 100%" to be negotiated on a "case by case" basis.
The G7 has been criticized for their representational deficit. The G7 does not include the world's largest emerging economies such as Brazil, China, India and Russia. Walden Bello calls the G7 an undemocratic institution. The G7 decision making process has been described non-transparent, by former insider Leo Van Houtven, Secretary of the IMF from 1977 to 1996: "[The G7's] frequent contacts with IMF management on both policy and operational issues lack transparency..."
- Information Centre University of Toronto official website
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- 2008 Evian summit - Questions about the G8
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