France’s action at the G8 and G20

France’s action at the G8

Created in 1975 at the initiative of France to address the first oil crisis, the G8 is an informal group of advanced economies which meets once a year at a summit of Heads of State and Government. It essentially has a role of providing guidance and political impetus.


G8 members are France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada. Initially made up of six members at its inception in 1975, and seven with Canada in 1976, the group became the G8 with the gradual inclusion of Russia from 1998. The European Union (then the EEC) has been involved since 1977. G8 members account for 12% of the world’s population, 50% of GDP and two-thirds of international trade.


The G8 members strive together to identify steps to take, where their joint action can contribute added value, on major issues linked to the political stakes of security and globalization. The G8 has no legal personality or permanent secretariat and is not an international institution. Its decisions are not binding.

Over the past thirty years, the G8 has been the main international forum for providing guidance and impetus across an increasingly broad spectrum of issues, such as the economy, from the outset; as well as development, peace and security, the environment and climate change. It has helped established a collective framework to regulate globalization.

Its added value lies in its effectiveness, based on its direct and informal nature, the tradition of working together, and the shared determination of its members to shoulder their responsibilities.


A G8 Presidency lasts for one calendar year, from 1 January to 31 December, and is held in turn by its member countries in the following order: France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada. The European Union also participates in the G8 and is represented by the European Council and Commission Presidents.

The country holding the Presidency organizes and hosts the Summit and prepares for it in the lead-up period by convening meetings of ministers, senior civil servants and experts. The Presidency is also responsible for G8 communication and relations with non-G8 countries, international organizations, NGOs and civil society in general.

France presided over the G8 for the sixth time in 2011. In the past, it has hosted summits in Rambouillet in 1975, Versailles in 1962, Paris in 1989, Lyon in 1996 and Evian in 2003. In 2013, the Presidency is held by the United Kingdom. The latest Summit was held at Lough Erne (Northern Ireland) on 17-18 June 2013.

Ministerial meetings

The presidency also holds ministerial meetings, which prepare for the Summit but also have their own agendas and are the subject of communiqués, which are made public.

The foreign ministers generally meet once before the Summit and a second time on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York in September to discuss foreign policy and security issues.

France’s action at the G20


The G20 is often presented as the “premier forum for global economic cooperation”. Its goal is to provide sustainable responses to the economic and financial crisis which broke out in 2008, which motivated its creation. The Heads of State and Government meeting at the annual Summit make commitments for their national economic policies to contribute effectively to resolving the global crisis.

The keys to ensure the conditions for strong, sustainable and balanced growth are:

  • refusing protectionism
  • returning to a sustainable public debt trajectory
  • encouraging internal demand in countries where debt is sustainable
  • coordinating the establishment of regulation and supervision of financial establishments and markets in the legislative framework of the Member States
  • rebalancing global financial governance in the framework of the Bretton Woods institutions and stepping up their resources.

France’s actions, positions and commitments

France supported the 2008 creation of the G20 at Heads of State and Government level (it existed at finance ministers and central bank governors level from 1998) and presided over it in 2011 (Cannes Summit). France sees in the G20 a unique forum for dialogue between developed and major emerging countries, able to address the great immediate and future economic challenges.

Within this forum, France encourages diversified G20 action, including in fields that are not strictly economic, such as the social area (task force for employment created under its Presidency), agriculture (food security and addressing the demographic challenge in agricultural terms), development and G20 dialogue with regional organizations such as the African Union, ECOWAS, ASEAN and APEC and with the United Nations.

In the financial area, France supports the G20’s efforts to regulate and supervise financial institutions (systemically-important institutions at global and national level, banks and insurance companies). It was also an initiator of the fight against non-cooperative jurisdictions (tax havens), regulation of the shadow banking system (institutions without bank status but acting as financial intermediaries), regulation of ratings agencies, and combating volatility of commodity prices (energy and agricultural products).

Updated on: 13.03.13