The G7 of leaders from the 6 largest national economies and the European Union will convene in Southern France.
State of Event
The G7 shall convene in Biarritz, France in late August for their 2019 Annual Meeting. Presiding will be Emmanuel Macron, President of France, which currently holds the rotating Presidency of the G7 for the year.
The overarching concerns of the Meeting shall include the effects of, inequalities from, and proposed improvements to processes of globalization — with special attention to a clear, concrete and committed prioritization of renewed relationships among African countries and members of the G7.
In his framing and preview of the Annual Meeting, President Macron begins, quite notably, by characterizing the fight against inequalities, widely contested within societies and Regions, as a matter of justice and as an urgent, pressing question of how to regain public trust — that is, the confidence of citizens in the modern international system of governance ascribed to by a significant proportion of the world’s leaders and countries, from at least the latter half of the twentieth century.
He notes that the G7 — an informal group and rotating meeting of leaders of the European Union and the six largest national economies (per criteria developed by the International Monetary Fund) — is unified by their interest in democratic values and their collective ambition to address world problems, but also, in its current form, limiting.
Limiting, in the sense Macron further defines, by referring to a September 2018 address he gave before the Annual Assembly of the United Nations. There, he strongly argued that “the time where a club of rich countries could by themselves determine the equilibrium of the world has for some time passed.” Macron’s argument, in that speech and in this framing, is precise. He would have us see the Group’s use of a number in its name — 7, the Group of Seven, the seven most advanced economies — as a restriction and not just a marker of economic achievement and influence, as a point of exclusivity and limitation, and most importantly, a possible impediment to crafting the best solutions to the problems Group Members gather each year to try to solve. The format of their Annual Meeting, if not the Group itself, must therefore undergo change.
For this reason, Macron proposes to take France’s hosting of the G7 Meeting as an opportunity to evolve its structure. And one subsequent objective is to convene, along with the G7, the following participants:
- large democracies with significant regional influence;
- African associations, countries, members, and partners in order to build renewed partnerships; and
- key actors in civil society, in order to more ably create coalitions around the fight against all forms of inequality, via the most concrete, efficacious and legitimate methods possible and available.
With the above in mind, the French Presidency of the G7 has invited representatives from what it describes as “four great partners engaged in the protection and promotion of democratic liberties.” Acceptances have come from leaders of Australia, Chile, India, and South Africa.
The French Presidency of the G7 has also invited representatives from “six African partners to build a partnership of equals toward equality with a continent of the future.” The leaders planning to attend include those of the African Union, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Rwanda, Senegal, and again South Africa.
Also to attend are civil society actors already engaged in work with the French Presidency. And here Macron and others have settled on an ideal, numerical symmetry with the G7. Seven representatives each from the young in civil society (Youth 7), women in civil society (Women 7), nongovernmental organizations (Civil 7), unions (Labor 7), employers (Business 7), research centers (Think Tank 7), the sciences (Science 7), the law (Lawyers 7), and universities (University 7).
Such invitees are likely to present a noticeable difference in the structure of the G7 Meeting, as well as accompanying differences in subject matter, problems, and solutions to be presented and discussed. Macron’s is thus a mandate evidently focused on recognizing economic and democratic influence, avenues for reform, plus real possibilities for a more equal future. And plans to fulfill this mandate continue to take detailed shape, as evidenced in updates at the event’s official site — to be finally unveiled in Biarritz, Southern France, in late August.
Sources & Further
For this article’s sources, and further reading on the issues raised by the 2019 G7 Meeting in France, we suggest you spend considerable time at the event’s official site organized by the Office of the Presidency of the Republic of France.
There are three forms of information worth noting here. First, are pages (such as those on the G7’s structure, on forms of inequality, and on eco-responsibility) that elaborate upon the central mandate, or set of problematiques, proposed for the Meeting. Second, are updates on news and events associated with the G7, emerging throughout the year of 2019, including addresses and conversations featuring speakers in and visiting France. And more deeply, are reports from a year-long series of high-level meetings among ministers. The reports date from January 2019 and plan to continue till December of the same year, well after the actual Annual Meeting of the G7. Each report will lead you to a summary of the meeting agenda, an associated press file, a released joint public statement, and language and text adopted by the participants by (or soon after) the conclusion of the meeting.
It is no secret that President Macron has made climate change and climate action a global priority for both economic and diplomatic relations, and evidence of this emphasis can be seen throughout the pages of this site. For requisite background, please see the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. And for an understanding of references the site makes to Kyoto and Paris accords, please also see the two most-often cited subsets of that Framework: the United Nations Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the United Nations Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change.
For those who can read and listen in French, the Office of the Presidency has provided official transcripts and a video recording of two relevant speeches by President Macron: “Discours du Président de la République Emmanuel Macron à la 73e Assemblée générale des Nations unies” (“Address of the President of the Republic of France Emmanuel Macron Before the 73rd Assembly General of the United Nations”) and “Discours du Président Emmanuel Macron à l’Unesco : innover pour émanciper les filles et les femmes par l’éducation” (“Address of the President of the Republic of France Emmanuel Macron at UNESCO: Innovate to Emancipate Girls and Women Via Education”).