Seven of the world’s most powerful leaders are scheduled to gather this weekend in Canada for the annual G7 summit.
This year’s G7 summit is hosted in Charlevoix, the riverside region in Quebec, on June 8-9.
“This vibrant region captures everything that our country is about -- from bilingualism, to cultural diversity, to stunning scenery in every season,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. “I look forward to welcoming my counterparts this year in beautiful Charlevoix. I’m sure they will fall in love with the region, just as Canadians have done for generations.”
Read on for a look at the 44th G7 summit.
What is the G7?
Officially the “Group of Seven,” the G7 is the gathering of seven of the world’s most industrialized nations. This group is comprised of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.
The leaders for this year’s summit include: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, British Prime Minister Theresa May and President Trump.
According to the G7, the European Union is also considered a “non-enumerated member” of the group but doesn’t chair or host the summit. The president of the European Council has attended every summit since 1981, and Donald Tusk, the current president, is expected to attend the 2018 gathering.
For several decades, the group was referred to as the G8, as it included Russia. But Russia was suspended from the group in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea. As he was leaving for the summit, Trump suggested Russia should be added back
"It doesn't matter what you call it. It used to be G8; now Russia is out," Trump told reporters. "Why are we having a meeting without Russia? Would recommend Russia should be a part of it."
How does the summit -- and presidency -- work?
Each country in the group takes a turn holding what is called the “presidency” every year -- with this year being Canada. During its turn, the country that holds the presidency is responsible for hosting the summit, setting the agenda and acting as speaker for the entire G7. It also schedules preparatory meetings ahead of the summit. Representatives from the G7 nations, known as sherpas, attend those gatherings.
The order for the presidency is as follows: France, the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada. This will be the sixth time Canada has hosted the G7 summit, with the last one being in Muskoka, Ontario in 2010.
The summit is considered to be the “highest-profile event of the entire G7 presidency.” It’s an opportunity for the heads of state or government from each G7 nation to gather together -- potentially along with leaders of other governments and international organizations.
Are there any themes this year?
The Canadian G7 presidency has 5 themes this year:
- Investing in growth that works for everyone
- Preparing for jobs of the future
- Advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment
- Working together on climate change, oceans and clean energy
- Building a more peaceful and secure world
“Canada is proud to put forward a progressive agenda for the 2018 G7,” Trudeau said in a statement on Canada’s G7 presidency website. “The themes we have chosen for this year will help focus our discussions on finding real, concrete solutions to promote gender equality, women’s empowerment, clean energy and economic growth that works for everyone.”
“As G7 partners, we share a responsibility to ensure that all citizens benefit from our global economy, and that we leave a healthier, more peaceful and more secure world for our children and grandchildren,” the prime minister said.
Anything else to know?
As Trump increases tariffs, the White House is expecting a chilly reception from Canada and West European countries already frustrated with the president for withdrawing from the Paris climate accord and Iran nuclear agreement.
Merkel already told the German parliament that “it is apparent that we have a serious problem with multilateral agreements here, and so there will be contentious discussions” at the summit.
Trump said in a June 7 tweet that he is “getting ready” for the G7 summit -- which comes just days before he’s scheduled to travel to Singapore for a historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
At the G7 summit, Trump is expected to hold multiple one-on-one meetings, including with Macron and Trudeau. But he is unlikely to back away from the nationalistic policies that have frustrated and unnerved allies which he sees as key promises to his most loyal voters.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.