What is the G7?
The G7 (or Group of Seven) is an organisation made up of the world’s seven largest so-called advanced economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The group regards itself as ” a community of values”, with freedom and human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and prosperity and sustainable development as its key principles.
What does it do?
The initial group of six first met in 1975 “to exchange ideas on possible solutions” to a global economic crisis. Canada joined the following year. Ministers and civil servants from the G7 countries meet throughout the year to discuss matters of mutual interest. Each member nation takes over the G7 presidency for a year on a rolling basis and hosts the annual centrepiece two-day summit meeting. Energy policy, climate change, HIV/Aids and global security are just some of the subjects discussed at past summits. At the end of the summit a communiqué is issued, outlining what has been agreed.
Boris Johnson has spoken to US President Donald Trump ahead of meeting him for the first time since becoming prime minister. The leaders, who will meet at the G7 summit in France, discussed “foreign policy issues and global trade” in a phone call.
The UK wants protections for the NHS and animal welfare standards in any future deal, but also wants it to cover issues such as opening up agricultural markets, services and public procurement. Senior Trump administration officials are “very enthusiastic” about the prospect of a trade deal – or a series of mini agreements – and want to make progress quickly. But the British side is adamant it wants to secure the right deal rather than a quick agreement, even though it is seen as a major post-Brexit prize. A UK government spokesman said: “Of course we want to move quickly, but we want to get the right deal that works for both sides.”The prime minister will meet Mr Trump for one-on-one talks on the sidelines of the summit.
The G7 meeting in Biarritz – a get together of most of the leaders of the world’s largest economies – comes with just over two months until the UK is scheduled to leave the European Union on 31 October. The G7 summit follows a hectic week of diplomacy for Mr Johnson in an effort to persuade the EU to amend the withdrawal agreement it reached with his predecessor Theresa May. The prime minister wants to renegotiate the Irish backstop – a key Brexit sticking point which is part of the agreement and aims to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit. The EU has consistently ruled this out.
If implemented, the backstop would see Northern Ireland staying aligned to some rules of the EU single market, should the UK and the EU not agree a trade deal after Brexit. The G7 summit, which also comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, runs from Saturday to Monday. Issues on the agenda include the global economy, tackling inequality and responding to the challenges of the digital age and the rise of artificial intelligence.