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Current G8 Leaders
Image:Flag of Canada.svg Canada
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Image:Flag of France.svg France
President Jacques Chirac
Image:Flag of Germany.svg Germany
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Image:Flag of Italy.svg Italy
Prime Minister Romano Prodi
Image:Flag of Japan (bordered).svg Japan
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Image:Flag of Russia (bordered).svg Russia
President Vladimir Putin (chair)
Image:Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Image:Flag of the United States.svg United States
President George W. Bush

The Group of Eight (G8) consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Together, these countries represent about 65% of the world economy<ref>United Nations Development Programme</ref>. The hallmark of the G8 is an annual political summit meeting of the heads of government with international officials, though there are numerous subsidiary meetings and policy research.

The Presidency of the group rotates every year. For 2006 it was held by Russia, and a 2006 summit of all G8 leaders was held in Saint Petersburg from July 15 to July 17 at the Palace of Congresses. The next chair of the G8 is expected to be German Chancellor Angela Merkel followed by the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In the last months Spain has expressed its interest in joining the G8. The Spanish economy is growing fast and it will likely surpass Canada in 2008.


[edit] Background and history

The G8 countries has its roots in the 1973 oil crisis and subsequent global recession. These troubles lead the United States to form the Library Group, a gathering of senior financial officials from the United States, Europe, and Japan, to discuss the economic issues.

In 1975, French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing invited the heads of state of six major industrialized democracies to a summit in Rambouillet and proposed regular meetings. The participants agreed to an annual meeting organized under a rotating presidency, forming what was dubbed the Group of Six (G6) consisting of France, West Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. At the subsequent annual summit in Puerto Rico, it became the Group of Seven (G7) when Canada joined at the behest of U.S. President Gerald Ford in 1976. The European Union has attended meetings since it was first invited by the United Kingdom in 1977<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>.

[edit] Participation of Russia and formation of the G8

G8 work session; July 20-22, 2001.

In 1991, following the end of the Cold War, the USSR (now Russia) began meeting with the G7 after the main summit. This group became known as the P8 (Political 8), or colloquially the "G7 plus 1", starting with the 1994 Naples summit. Russia was allowed to participate more fully beginning in the 1997 political summit, marking the creation of the Group of Eight or G8. Russia was not included in the meeting of financial officials as it is not a significant economic power; "G7" now refers specifically to the meeting of the respective Finance Ministers and Governors of the Central Banks.

At the initiative of then-U.S. President Bill Clinton, "Group of Seven" became the "Group of Eight," with Russia attending most sessions. This was a gesture of appreciation from President Clinton to then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin for pursuing economic reforms, and for their neutrality with respect to the eastward expansion of NATO.

On February 18, 2005, U.S. Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John McCain (R-AZ) called for Russia to be suspended from the G8 until democratic and political freedoms are ensured by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

[edit] Structure and activities

The G8 is not supported by a transnational administration, unlike institutions such as the United Nations or World Bank. The presidency of the Group rotates among the member states annually, with the new president assuming his or her position on 1 January. The country holding the presidency hosts a series of ministerial-level meetings leading up to a mid-year three-day summit with the heads of government, and is responsible for the safety of the participants.

The ministerial meetings bring together ministers in topics such as health, law enforcement, labour, development, energy, environment, foreign affairs, justice and interior, terrorism and trade to discuss issues of mutual or global concern. The best known of these is the G-7, which now refers specifically to the annual meeting of the financial ministers of the G-8 minus Russia, as well as a representative from the European Union. However, there also is a briefer "G8+5" meeting for the finance ministers of the full G-8, as well as the People's Republic of China, Mexico, India, Brazil, and South Africa.

Under the auspices of G7 a special program for the implementation of the Information Society was established in 1994. The Global Information Society held meetings February 25 to February 26 in 1995 in Brussels and May 13 to May 15 in 1996 in South Africa.

In June 2005 the G8 Justice and Interior ministers agreed to launch an international database on paedophiles, expected to be set up by the end of the year. Other countries may join later.[1] The G8 also agreed to pool data on terrorism, subject to the restrictions of the various countries' privacy and security laws. [2]

In June 2005 the national science academies of the G8 nations - and Brazil, the People's Republic of China and India, three of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the developing world, signed a statement on the global response to climate change. The statement stresses that the scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action [3], and explicitly endorsed the IPCC consensus.

[edit] Economic Power

Just about 13 % of the world's population live in the countries making up the G8, but they stand for about 70 % of the world's GDP (see World Development Report 2006 / World Bank).

2004 Population BNE
  Mio. % Bil. $ %
World 6345.1 100.0 39833.6 100.0
United States 293.5 4.6 12179.9 30.7
Japan 127.8 2.0 4749.9 11.9
Germany 82.6 1.3 2549.0 6.3
United Kingdom 59.4 0.9 2036.4 5.2
France 60.0 0.9 1858.7 4.7
Italy 57.6 0.9 1503.6 3.8
Canada 31.9 0.5 905.6 2.3
Russia 142.8 2.3 487.3 1.2
G8 855.6 13.5 26270.4 66.1

[edit] Criticism

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

Critics assert that members of G8 are responsible for global issues such as global warming due to carbon dioxide emission, poverty in Africa and developing countries due to debt crisis and unfair trading policy, the AIDS problem due to strict medicine patent policy and other problems that are related to globalization.

The debate drives discussions on property rights, global economics, international politics, morality and many other aspects. For example, some defenders believe that patent laws are essential property rights that encourage medical discovery. On the other hand, some critics say that parallel importation is a way out. Some others believe that African poverty is due to the rampant government corruption on that continent while some critics say it is a problem of unfair international trading. Most debate is related to discussions on globalization.

Pressure has also been put on G8 leaders to take responsibility to combat problems they are accused by some of creating. For example, Bob Geldof organized Live 8, a series of concerts on July 2 and July 6, 2005 held worldwide and intended to promote global awareness, to encourage G8 leaders to "Make Poverty History." The concerts were timed to coincide with the 31st G8 summit. Organizers of the concert series have also proposed that G8 member nations adjust their national budgets to allow for 0.7% to go towards foreign aid as outlined in Agenda 21 of the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992.

Another criticism is that the G8 is now a "snapshot of history". With countries like Spain, India, Brazil and China excluded, the G8 no longer represents the main economic powers of today's world, as it did when it was created.

[edit] Terrorism

The opening day of the 2005 summit meeting in Scotland (7 July, 2005) was accompanied by a series of synchronized bombings in the London Underground and in a London double-decker bus that claimed more than 50 lives and wounded hundreds more. An organization calling themselves the "Secret Group of Al Qaeda's Jihad in Europe" claimed credit for the attacks. The attacks are assumed to be in retaliation for the UK's participation in military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, although terrorism has been perpetrated against western states by Islamic fundamentalists prior to those actions. The global attention focused on the G8 summit was presumably leveraged by the terrorists for maximum symbolic effect. The strike also followed abruptly after the International Olympic Committee announced London as the site of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Prime Minister Tony Blair denounced the attacks as 'barbaric', and returned to London to oversee the situation, but announced that the business of the summit would continue.

Most recently, the G8 summit in Russia, which was supposed to discuss Iran's nuclear weapons programme, was interrupted by the renewed crisis in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

[edit] G6/7/8 Summits

The location of the summit meetings rotate annually among member countries in the following order: France, United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada, Russia (also the order in which each nation joined the Group). Thousands of reporters descend on the summit site to cover the world's most powerful leaders.

See also: G8 logos
Number Date Country Place Official Website
1st November 15November 17 1975 France Rambouillet
2nd June 27June 28 1976 United States San Juan, Puerto Rico
3rd May 7May 8 1977 United Kingdom London
4th July 16July 17 1978 West Germany Bonn
5th June 28June 29 1979 Japan Tokyo
6th June 22June 23 1980 Italy Venice
7th July 20July 21 1981 Canada Montebello, Quebec
8th June 4June 6 1982 France Versailles
9th May 28May 30 1983 United States Williamsburg, Virginia
10th June 7June 9 1984 United Kingdom London
11th May 2May 4 1985 West Germany Bonn
12th May 4May 6 1986 Japan Tokyo
13th June 8June 10 1987 Italy Venice
14th June 19June 21 1988 Canada Toronto, Ontario
15th July 14July 16 1989 France Paris, Grande Arche
16th July 9July 11 1990 United States Houston, Texas
17th July 15July 17 1991 United Kingdom London
18th July 6July 8 1992 Germany Munich, Bayern
19th July 7July 9 1993 Japan Tokyo
20th July 8July 10 1994 Italy Naples
21st June 15June 17 1995 Canada Halifax, Nova Scotia
- April 19April 20 1996 Russia Moscow
(Special summit on nuclear security)
22nd June 27June 29 1996 France Lyon
23rd June 20June 22 1997 United States Denver, Colorado G8 Summit 1997
24th May 15May 17 1998 United Kingdom Birmingham
(First G8 official Summit)
G8 Summit 1998 (archive)
25th June 18June 20 1999 Germany Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia
26th July 21July 23 2000 Japan Okinawa

G8 Summit 2000

27th July 20July 22 2001 Italy Genoa

G8 Summit 2001

28th June 26June 27 2002 Canada Kananaskis, Alberta G8 Summit 2002
29th June 2June 3 2003 France Évian-les-Bains G8 Summit 2003
30th June 8June 10 2004 United States Sea Island, Georgia G8 Summit 2004
31st July 6July 8 2005 United Kingdom Gleneagles Hotel, Gleneagles, Scotland G8 Summit 2005
32nd July 15July 17 2006 Russia Strelna, St. Petersburg G8 Summit 2006
33rd June 6June 8, 2007 Germany Kempinski Grand Hotel, Heiligendamm, Mecklenburg G8 Summit Heiligendamm 2007
34th 2008 Japan
35th 2009 Italy
36th 2010 Canada
37th 2011 France
38th 2012 United States
39th 2013 United Kingdom
40th 2014 Russia

[edit] See also

[edit] References

<references />

[edit] External links

[edit] Governments

[edit] Comment

[edit] Earlier G8 Summit Activism

[edit] Current and Future G8 Summit Activism

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