Written by 04:12 World

Italy Hosts G7 Summit 2024: What to Know

Every year, as the leaders of the world’s wealthiest large democracies gather for a summit, the same questions arise: What exactly is the summit for, and why does the group matter?

The heads of the Group of 7 nations — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States — started their annual summit on Thursday at a luxury hotel in Puglia on the southern Italian coast, overlooking the Adriatic Sea. The wars in Ukraine and Gaza and the threats posed by China’s economic rise are high on the agenda.

The leaders, along with representatives of the European Union and selected guests, meet to discuss economic issues and major international policies. This year the summit’s host, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni of Italy, has also invited other figures including Pope Francis and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India.

Whatever the leaders’ disagreements on the issues, one feature of the summits tends to be a shared overall outlook. Their countries are major trading partners, and even if their share of global trade has declined, they account for about half of the world economy. They also share broadly similar views on trade, security and human rights, giving them enormous influence when they act in concert.

A recent example of that is the war in Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose defense against the Russian invasion of his country has been a rallying point for the G7, is attending again this year.

By the same token, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is one of the group’s most notable absentees. Russia was a member of the group from 1997 until it was excluded in 2014, the year that its forces entered eastern Ukraine and seized Crimea.

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Last modified: 16 June 2024
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