What is the G7 and which country is hosting the G7 summit 2022?

Leaders of the world's largest democracies prepare to gather for what is likely to be the thorniest forum in years

The village of Klais, Germany from where the road goes up to Elmau Castle where the G7 summit will start on Sunday. AP
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On Sunday, leaders of the G7 countries will assemble at a castle in Germany to discuss a raft of gnarly global problems.

Here, The National looks back on the history of the exclusive club and its annual gathering, and looks ahead to its latest summit.

What is the G7 and which countries are in it?

The G7 (Group of Seven) is an organisation comprising the world's seven largest “advanced” economies that was formed in 1975.

Its raison d'etre was to share and form macroeconomic solutions to the economic problems of the day.

At that time the group was actually the G6, comprising founder members France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US. A year later, it became the G7 when Canada was assimilated.

In 1998 the G7 became the G8 when Russia was welcomed into the fold. However, following the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, Moscow was indefinitely suspended and the forum reverted to the G7.

Although not a country, the EU attends the G7 summit.

Every year, a different country assumes presidency of the group, with the UK the current holders.

What is the G7 summit and how many have been held?

Every year since its formation the leaders of the member countries have congregated to discuss the big global events of the day, and at the end of the summit a statement is issued outlining the areas of agreement. Each member country takes it in turn to host the event.

The first official summit as the G7 was held in the US in 1976, with the group having met in France a year earlier as the G6, before Canada's inclusion.

This year will mark the 48th meeting of the G7, if its time as the G6 and G8 is included too.

Which country is hosting the 2022 G7 summit, when is it, and what will be discussed?

This year, the three-day summit is being at held at Schloss Elmau, a castle retreat in the Bavarian Alps in Germany, from June 26 to June 28.

Germany is also taking over presidency of the group, six months after Angela Merkel was replaced as German chancellor by the Social Democratic Party's Olaf Scholz.

Assembled leaders, including under-fire UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Joe Biden, face some of the G7's most formidable challenges in years.

The world is looking to the club of rich democracies to master the crisis in Ukraine and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address the leaders remotely, as they consider their response to the war and its impact on the global economy and food supplies.

But Germany hopes the group's talks will not be limited to the crisis in eastern Europe.

Mr Scholz said the war must not lead the G7 to "neglect our responsibility for global challenges such as the climate crisis and the pandemic".

He warned that if the G7 democracies do not support poorer countries, "powers like Russia and China will take advantage".

As well as the permanent G7 members, the leaders of Argentina, India, Indonesia, Senegal and South Africa have been invited as guests.

Olaf Scholz will welcome leaders at the Alpine resort of Schloss Elmau this weekend. Reuters

Where was the 2021 G7 summit held and what was agreed?

The 47th G7 summit was held from June 11 to June 13, 2021, in Carbis Bay in Cornwall, south-west England.

Discussions were dominated by the world's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

G7 leaders agreed to a Carbis Bay declaration committing to a 100-day response window to develop vaccines, treatments and diagnostics to prevent any repeat of the coronavirus pandemic.

Alongside the leaders of Australia, South Korea and South Africa, as well as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the group pledged to ensure the world is protected from future threats.

The declaration drew on the report of the Pandemic Preparedness Partnership's independent report containing recommendations on how governments and others can quickly respond to new outbreaks.

Why is China not in the G7?

China has never been a member, despite its powerful economy. It is not seen as an advanced economy due its relatively lowly wealth per capita.

Beijing is also congenitally hostile to the G7 construct, and last year warned G7 leaders that a “small” group of countries no longer decided the fate of the world.

Updated: June 28, 2022, 6:54 AM