France’s action in the G7

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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.

What is the G7’s role?

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.

How does the G7 work?

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.

G7 Presidencies:
  • 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.

What are the outcomes of the G7?

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.

Despite there not being a summit under the US Presidency in 2020, the G7 has been able to adapt and remain relevant alongside the G20. The G7 has thus played a coordination role regarding Afghanistan in 2021 and continues to provide a crucial coordination platform in the context of the war in Ukraine, for example.

G7 action has resulted in progress on multilateral responses to crises resulting from globalization, through tangible engagements: coordination of macroeconomic policies, when it comes to global trade and international taxation (agreement on taxation at the OECD in 2021), key engagement to tackle the climate crisis, the energy transition and protection of biodiversity, ahead of 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. The G7 Summits, held regularly, are times when decisive action is taken for development (climate finance, global health, finance of infrastructure, for example). The G7 is a driving force and provides support for multilateral initiatives conducted within the United Nations system.

Main results of the Carbis Bay Summit in 2021

The first summit held in person since 2019, the Carbis Bay Summit (United Kingdom) saw a return of the G7 on the international stage producing deliverables on the following points:

Response to the pandemic: the Summit adopted the French vision of access to vaccines to make immunization a global public good, a vision which was translated into a pledge of vaccine donations (870 million in mid-2022) and support for the increase in production capacity everywhere in the world, particularly in developing countries;

Ways to prepare for future pandemics: the G7 committed to strengthening the international global health architecture, both to improve the central role of the World Health Organization (WHO), to develop epidemic surveillance capacities and consolidate the One Health approach.

Climate and biodiversity: the Carbis Bay Summit presented a G7 joint roadmap for achieving carbon neutrality: “as soon as possible and by 2050 at the latest”, with a first step in 2030 to reduce by half emissions compared with 2010, a commitment to put an end to all new international investment in unabated coal, starting late 2021, a commitment of G7 countries to increase their contributions to achieve the goal of $100 billion a year until 2025 and to adopt major goals for biodiversity (protection target of 30% of land and oceans by 2030, for example);

Development and support for Africa: the G7 communiqué activates the Summit conclusions on finance of African economies held on 18 May in Paris, and especially the endorsement of an aggregated target of $100 billion in support for the most vulnerable countries, especially in Africa, through the reallocation of a portion of the special drawing rights (SDR) of developed countries;

Taxation: following the G7 finance ministers’ meeting, the Heads of State and Government reiterated their commitment to the implementation of a global minimum corporate tax set at 15%.

For more information on the Carbis Bay Summit on the website of the Presidency of the French Republic

German Presidency of the G7 in 2022
The crisis in Ukraine altered the G7 agenda under the German Presidency. The G7 Summit in Elmau enabled essential coordination to condemn Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and joint measures to be taken, for example, sanction regimes, in synergy with the measures taken at the level of the European Union.

Germany G7 Presidency website

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