Group of eight

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Group of eight
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The Group of Eight (or G8 for short) is a term describing a coalition of the eight most industrialized, richest and most developed countries in the world. Through their government representatives (usually they are heads of state), members of the group meet annually for so-called summits to discuss global affairs and to set the course for international politics in its most important aspects[1]. Each year, in a given order, a different country hosts the summit, undertaking the obligation to conduct the meeting and to set its course. The summits have a very strong impact on every important international matter, including, among others: global economy, monetary policy, trade, healthcare, and military in a global sense. Members of the G8 group are United States, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Italy, Canada and Russia[2]. Together, representatives of these nations influence such significant international organizations as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the World Bank.

History of G8

The Group of Eight was founded in 1975 as the then G6. The organization was composed of representatives of the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan. France was the host of the first summit in history. It took place in Rambouillet. It was not until a year later, in 1976, the organization from G6 transformed into G7, when the founding states invited Canada to join their elite group. Due to the increasing importance of Russia in the international arena each year, in 1997 the organization expanded to eight members, forming the Group of Eight[3]. Since around 2008, due to the very dynamic economic developments of other countries like China or India, the legitimacy of the G8's existence has been the subject of much controversy. The objection was increased by the fact that Russia's President Vladimir Putin was not present at the summit held in Camp David (United States) in 2012. The coalition remained unchanged until 2014 when due to the very high international tension caused by the Crimean conflict, Russian participation in the group was suspended. This state of affairs continues to this day, even though over the years it has been discussed several times over to restore Russia to the organization.

Main goals

Representatives of G8 member countries during summits debate on a wide variety of topics related to international politics. The most important of these in recent years are for example:

  • fight against terrorism - in recent years a significant increase in the frequency of religious attacks can be observed. In this regard, the heads of the most developed countries of the world are discussing ways to prevent further acts of terrorism.
  • foreign policy and security matters - tense national and religious situations in countries such as Ukraine, Iran, Syria, Hong Kong, and the Middle East are forcing the reaction of the largest powers in the world. In connection with this, debates are conducted to calm the situation in the most dangerous places in the world.
  • energy crisis - continuous global development has unpleasant consequences in the form of a possible energy crisis. Therefore, the G8 summits emphasize preventing this growing problem.
  • climate change
  • financial aids for poorest countries - sustainable economic development is very important, especially for the poorest countries, especially in Africa. Therefore, the attention of the major powers is also directed to them by offering various supports.
  • fight for women and minorities rights


  1. Knight J., Pattison M., 2015, p.310
  2. Arnold G., 2010, p.143
  3. Weitz R., 2011, p.57


Author: Kinga Więcek