Heads of State and Government of the leading industrial nations met for the first time in Rambouillet, France in 1975 to discuss developments in the global economy. At that time the world's six or seven largest economic powers were represented.
This was the founding moment of the world economic summit. Today, G8 summits are still the climax of the annual presidency of each state. The range of issues under discussion now covers the whole spectrum of global politics. Foreign and security policy and development issues are discussed in addition to economic matters.
This forum has launched a large number of global initiatives, including the campaign against world poverty.
The G8 members are Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, the United States, Canada (since 1976) and Russia (since 1998). The European Commission is also represented at all the meetings.
The Organisation of the G8
The G8 is an informal forum of Heads of State and Government. The Group is not an international organisation; it does not have its own administrative structure with a permanent secretariat or office for its individual members.
The organisation and agenda for the annual G8 summits is traditionally a matter for the relevant presidency. The necessary decision making procedures are prepared by the personal representatives of the Heads of State and Government, the G8 Sherpas and their staff.
Following on from 1978, 1985, 1992 and 1999 Germany will once again assume the Presidency in 2007. The 2007 G8 Summit will be held in the Baltic resort of Heiligendamm.