France’s action in the G7
The G7 (Group of 7) is a group for economic partnerships and that every year brings together the Heads of State and Government of seven of the most industrialized countries in the world (France, the United States, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany). These countries represented 10% of the world population and 46% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017. In the G7, the European Union is represented by the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission. The G7 has no legal existence, permanent secretariat or official members. The presidency, held by one of the seven countries in turn every year, provides the resources required for the group’s work.
The G7 was created at the instigation of France, following the first oil crisis. The first Summit was held in 1975, in Rambouillet, with six countries (France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy and Japan). The “G6” then expanded to include Canada the following year, and the European Commission in 1977. Russia was included in the group in 1998 (which would then become the G8), then was excluded when it invaded Crimea in 2014.
It was conceived as an informal forum for dialogue between the leading economic powers, with the primary aim of providing a forum to coordinate economic and financial policies free of any specific protocol. Over the years, the G7’s multilateral dimension has helped established a collective framework for better regulation of globalization.
In addition to addressing the economic issues it focused on initially, including international trade and the security of supply chains, which is at the heart of its creation, and tackling major geopolitical crises, the G7 is now a forum for concertation where common responses are found for major global challenges including peace and security, counter-terrorism, development, education, global health, the environment and climate change, gender equality and digital technology.
The G7 provides a unique framework: its small and informal format allows the leaders of the seven powers to engage in frank and direct dialogue.
The effectiveness of this dialogue draws on a set of shared values within the group: democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, free markets, and compliance with international law. This free expression and these shared values make it possible to tackle sensitive issues for which a consensus is not always reached, with the aim of defining a programme for common action.
The G7 has a rotating presidency. The country holding the presidency hosts the annual summit. It is also responsible for organizing the ministerial meetings, as is the case with the G20. The presidency decides on outreach, in other words which third countries to invite to the summit. The last time France held the G7 Presidency was in 2019 (Biarritz Summit from 24 to 26 August). It invited Chile, India, Australia, South Africa, Rwanda, Egypt, Burkina Faso and the African Union Commission. The countries invited to the G7 Summit under the Germany Presidency were Indonesia (which was holding the G20 Presidency), India, Senegal, South Africa and Argentina.
- Germany in 2022
- Japan in 2023
- Italy in 2024
How French positions are established and their interministerial coordination
The diplomatic adviser to the President of the French Republic has traditionally taken on the role of G7 and G20 Sherpa and participates as such in Sherpas’ meetings to prepare for the Heads of State and Government Summit (final declaration and political deliverables). At the Ministry, the Director-General for Global Affairs, Culture, Education and International Development acts as Sous-Sherpa, at the Sherpa and foreign affairs level (Foreign Affairs Sous-Sherpas, FASS). The DGM Task Force under the authority of the Director-General is responsible for preparing the Sherpas’ meetings and summits within the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.
The G7 has attained very concrete achievements including the creation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Deauville Partnership launched after the “Arab Springs”, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Muskoka Initiative to reduce maternal and infant mortality, as well as support for the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement.
At times of geopolitical crisis, such as in Afghanistan or the war in Ukraine, the G7 has played a key role in coordination. The Elmau Summit under the German Presidency demonstrated the unity of the G7 in condemning the Russian aggression and taking joint measures, such as the sanctions regimes.
In recent years, the G7’s action furthered progress in multilateral responses to crises stemming from globalization, through tangible commitments:
- Coordinating aid policies for crises (Afghanistan, Ukraine);
- Coordinating macroeconomic policies in global trade and international taxation (agreement on taxation at the OECD in 2021);
- key engagement to tackle the climate crisis;
- agreement on plastic pollution (ending plastic pollution by 2040), the energy transition and protection of biodiversity, ahead of international conferences such as the COPs (implementing the objectives of the Paris Agreement, raising climate finance);
- response to the pandemic (ACT-A initiative, vaccine donations);
- development finance, particularly with regard to African countries;
- gender equality and the fight against food insecurity (Global Alliance for Food Security, Carbis Bay Famine Prevention Compact).
Main results of the Elmau Summit in 2022
Following the Carbis Bay Summit, which focused on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the G7 Summit in Elmau under the German Presidency focused on the strategy to address the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine and its economic consequences (inflation, energy prices, food insecurity), which have specifically affected vulnerable countries. G7 members reaffirmed the following priorities in particular:
- Support for Ukraine: The G7 committed to supporting Ukraine both financially (US$23.9 billion in support from the G7) and in humanitarian and military terms.
- Energy and climate: the Summit enabled a club to be launched to speed up the decarbonization of G7 economies, recalling that joining the Paris Agreement is an entry criteria to the club. The G7 also agreed on placing a cap on Russian oil prices as part of the economic sanctions against Russia.
- Food security: As a key focus of the discussions, all of the G7 members increased their contribution to combat food insecurity (an additional $4.5 billion in 2022) and endorsed the Global Alliance for Food Security, the roadmap for G7 countries to tackle, prevent and safeguard against future food shocks.
Japanese G7 Presidency
Japan will host the G7 Summit in Hiroshima from 19 to 21 May 2023. More than a year after the start of the war in Ukraine, the G7 will focus on maintaining the coordination efforts to respond to the consequences of the war, while continuing to offer viable solutions to the current major challenges: climate, development and biodiversity. The Presidency’s agenda aims to focus on the following priorities:
- Economic security: A flagship topic of its Presidency, Japan wishes to strengthen G7 coordination on key topics (value chain resilience, technologies and infrastructures).
- Climate and environment: While the climate and environment ministers agreed on targeting zero plastic pollution by 2040 at the Sapporo ministerial meeting on 15 and 16 April 2023, the Summit is an opportunity for the Presidency to further work on decarbonizing economies, the energy transition of countries in the Indo-Pacific region and relaunching the COP27 agenda ahead of COP28.
- Food security: To continue the efforts at Elmau to assist the most vulnerable countries, strengthen food systems and prevent future shocks in a context of food crisis.
- The digital transformation: with the aim of discussing the facilitation of data flows, emerging technology challenges and the digital transformation of society.
G7 Climate, Energy and Environment Ministers’ Communiqué (15 and 16 April 2023)
At the G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting on 18 April 2023, the ministers reaffirmed their solidarity with Ukraine, G7 cooperation with developing countries and the group’s action to tackle major global challenges (economic resilience, financing infrastructures, cyber security, combating disinformation, energy and food security, gender equality, and global health. Link to the communiqué
Update : April 2023