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What you need to know about the G7 summit and why it matters

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Every year, when the leaders of the world’s wealthiest large democracies gather for a summit, the same questions arise: What is the summit all about? Why is this organization so important?

The leaders of the Group of Seven (UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US) began Annual Summit The wars in Ukraine and Gaza and the threat posed by China’s economic rise dominated the agenda Thursday at a luxury hotel overlooking the Adriatic Sea in the Puglia region on Italy’s southern coast.

The leaders of the countries met with EU representatives and special guests to discuss economic issues and major international policies. This year’s summit is hosted by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meronialso invited other figures such as Pope Francis and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Whatever differences the leaders may have on these issues, one hallmark of the summit is that both sides tend to agree on the overall outlook. These countries are major trading partners, and while their share of global trade has declined, they still account for about half of the world economy. They also hold broadly similar views on trade, security and human rights, so if they work together, they can have great influence.

A recent example is the war in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s rhetoric against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a rallying cry for the G7, and he attended the G7 summit again this year.

Likewise, one of the most notable absences from the group is President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, which was a member from 1997 until it was excluded in 2014, the same year its troops entered eastern Ukraine and occupied Crimea.

The Group’s The origins can be traced back to the 1973 oil crisisThe conference grew out of an informal meeting of finance ministers from Britain, France, Japan, the United States and what was then West Germany (initially known as the “Big Five”) to agree on a future direction.

Since then, the organization and its new members have held dozens of meetings to discuss major issues affecting the international economy, security, trade, equality and climate change. In 2015, the summit paved the way for the Paris agreement to limit global carbon emissions, adopted later that year.

Summits are often determined by the most pressing issues of the day: the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States in 2001, the 2008 financial crisis and the coronavirus pandemic that began in 2019 have all taken center stage.

They also serve as a platform for cultural diplomacy, as each year the host country showcases the best of its cuisine.

Yet despite the diplomatic atmosphere at the summit, each leader also has his eye on domestic politics. Leaders who have just won an election sometimes arrive with a swagger. The opposite can be true for leaders about to face angry voters. This week, several Italian leaders Belongs to the latter category.

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