What does G stand for in G7? Meaning explained as member countries attend G7 Summit 2023 in Japan

Leaders from the political forum have met in Germany to dicuss pressing issues such as the war in Ukraine
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The G7 Summit 2023 is kicking off, with some of the world’s major leaders descending on Japan for the 49th edition of the annual conference.

The group, which meets regularly throughout the year, hosts an annual event in which all leaders representing each country in the group come together to discuss pressing global issues. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and US President Joe Biden will be among the attendees of this year's summit in Hiroshima.

Topics on the table include Ukraine and the war with Russia, as well as the threat posed by China.

But what does G7 stand for, and what is the aim of group? Here's everything you need to know

G7 leaders met at Schloss Elmau near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany for the 2022 summit. (Credit: Getty Images)G7 leaders met at Schloss Elmau near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany for the 2022 summit. (Credit: Getty Images)
G7 leaders met at Schloss Elmau near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany for the 2022 summit. (Credit: Getty Images)

What does G7 stand for?

G7 stands for Group of Seven. This relates to the number of member countries within the forum.

It was previously known as the G8 - when the group consisted of eight members from between 1997 until 2014.

Which countries are in the G7?

The current members of the G7 group are:

  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • European Union

The European Union, although not a country itself, represents the political group of Europe within the group. Countries from outside the official members are often invited to attend the summit as guests.

In the 2023 summit, invitees include Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, India, South Korea, Cook Island, Comoros and Ukraine . Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky also made a virtual appearance at the 2022 meeting and will be once again attending virtually in 2023.

Russia was an official member of the group from 1997 until 2014, when the country was suspended for its annexation of Crimea. Shortly after the suspension, Russia voluntarily left the forum, with the G8 name reverting to G7 upon the country leaving.

What is the aim of the G7?

The forum was created in 1973, after originating from a gathering of finance ministers from each respective country. Since its inception, the G7 has grown to become a formal meeting place for world leaders to discuss ongoing global issues.

This includes topics such as security, trade, the economy and climate change. The group has come to agreements on major issues throughout the years, posing a united standpoint between the members.

The G7 launched global initiatives for issues such as the AIDS pandemic, climate change and supporting developing countries with financial aid.

In 2018, the annual summit hit the headlines after former US President Donald Trump insisted that Russia be reinstated to the group, while also clashing with former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over steel and aluminium tariffs and his refusal to sign the economic agreement of the forum.

During the 2022 summit, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined other countries in presented a united front in support of Ukraine.

A statement from the group read: “We will continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. We remain appalled by and continue to condemn the brutal, unprovoked, unjustifiable and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine by Russia and aided by Belarus.”

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