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What is the G8?


G8 is short for the Group of Eight and is an informal organisation of 7 major countries and the European Union to discuss global issues across issues such as security, finance, health, social development, energy and the environment.

The G8 grew out of the G7 when Russia joined in 1998. In 2014, following the annexing of the Crimea, Russia's membership was suspended and the G8 became the G7 again.

Where have you heard about the G8?

Recent G8 summits have hit the headlines because of large protests from a mix of different interest groups from ecological campaigners to anti-capitalist demonstrators. Summits are now accompanied by a large security presence.

What you need to know about the G8.

The eight members of the G8 are:

  • France
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Russia
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • Italy
  • Canada

Presidency, with responsibility for hosting annual summits, is rotated among the countries annually.

Since 1977, the EU has been represented by the president of the European Commission.

Summits are usually a mix of formal and informal meetings. Leaders can agree plans and objectives, but can't force anyone to comply with decisions. Leaders may issue joint declarations or communiqués at the end of the meeting setting out what was agreed.

Critics of the G8 argue that big important countries like China and India are not included and point out that no African or South American countries are represented.

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