What to know about the G7 and its annual summit

What exactly is the G7? 

The Group of Seven, or G7, is the name for Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. 

"The G7 is not an international organization but rather an informal top-level forum for debate that became structured over the years," the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C., wrote online. Italy is hosting this year's summit. 

How was the G7 first formed? 

The Group of Six was first launched in 1975 by "the world's six major industrialized democracies," the embassy said.

The G6 nations - which included the United States, France, Germany, Japan, Italy and the United Kingdom - met in 1975 to deal with economic concerns. Canada joined in 1976, forming the G7.

The G8 was formed in 1998 by adding Russia, though the country was suspended in 2014.  


When is the 2017 summit? 

It's scheduled to take place May 26 - May 27 in Taormina, which is located in Sicily. President Donald Trump is expected to attend. 

Who is coming to the summit? 

Aside from Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk,  French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May are expected to show up. 

What goes on at the summits?

"At the summit meeting, the heads of government sit at one table to hold candid discussions on global challenges, and make decisions," the Japanese government says on its website. "Outcomes of the meeting are summarized in the form of a declaration."

A variety of global issues have been discussed at the summit meetings. 

What about the group's agreements? 

The group's agreements are presented in the form of a final statement but aren't legally binding.  Instead, they represent the leaders' political commitment to follow through.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.