The G7 leaders meet once a year upon invitation of the respective presidents. The European Commission is represented and has observer status.
The group adopts a summit declaration (Communiqué) at each meeting which gathers together the most important results. The topics of the summit are set by chief negotiators of the governments, also known as 'sherpas'. The sherpa of Germany (personal representative of the Federal Chancellor for the G7/G20) is Prof. Lars Hendrik Röller, the Federal Chancellor's economic and financial policy adviser. The sous-sherpas from the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of Finance, which also meet regularly at G7 level, work together closely with the sherpas in order to support them in their work.
Issues of global importance are discussed amongst the countries based on consensus and are implemented in the group of the leading industrial countries. The classic G7 topics are world economy and trade, foreign, security and development policies, as well as climate change, environment and energy. In 2014, the G7 states produced about 35% of global GDP (measured in purchasing power parity); they account for roughly half of global trade, provide three-quarters of the world's development aid, and are the largest contributors to the finances of the international organisations. Furthermore, the United States, the United Kingdom and France are three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
In addition to the meetings of the heads of state and government, the foreign ministers meet each year in the run-up to the summit in order to address current foreign and security policy challenges. The G7 finance ministers and central bank governors also meet regularly to discuss monetary policy issues. Depending on the agenda set by the respective presidency, there are also meetings between other government ministers from the G7.
The G7 countries have a special responsibility for shaping our planet's future. This means that the G7 sees itself as a community of values for peace and security that supports people in leading a self-determined life. Freedom and human rights, democracy and the rule of law, peace and security, prosperity and sustainable development - all of these are key principles of the G7.
Japanese presidency of the G7 in 2016
The G7 heads of state and government met under Japanese presidency in Ise-Shima from the 26 to 27 May. Apart from the classic G7 topics, the focus of the meeting was on infrastructure, women's rights and health, and ways to deal with the migrant crisis. Further information can also be found in the .
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy participated heavily in discussions on trade and energy. In trade policy, the G7 stressed their commitment to open markets and campaigning against protectionism. The group emphasized that excess capacities in the industrial sectors could be resolved by reducing market-distorting measures. It also underlined the importance of having a rules-based multilateral trading system in the World Trade Organization as well as regional and bilateral agreements. The G7 showed its commitment to driving forward both decarbonisation efforts as well as investments in renewable energy and energy efficient infrastructure. The group reiterated its commitment to the measures in energy supply security that were decided upon at the G7 Summit in Elmau in 2015 and its obligation to reduce inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels.
In the run-up to the summit, Japan invited G7 countries to ten Ministerials. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy was represented at the Energy Ministerial in Kitakyushu by State Secretary Baake on 1 and 2 May 2016 and at the ICT Ministerial in Takamatsu by State Secretary Machnig on 29 and 30 April 2016. This was the first ICT Ministerial of the G7 since 1995, and focused on international challenges in the areas of ICT and digitisation.
Italy will hold the G7 presidency in 2017.
German G7 presidency 2015 - Energy Ministerial in Hamburg
The G7 Energy Ministerial in Hamburg was led by Federal Minister Sigmar Gabriel on 11 and 12 May 2015. The focus of the meetings was on securing a sustainable energy supply. As host, the German G7 presidency showed that a sustainable and secure energy supply is beneficial for innovation, economy and technological progress. In the previous meeting in 2014, the G7 Energy Ministers had already agreed on measures to improve energy security (in particular that of the gas supply) under the G7 Rome Energy Initiative. The G7 presidency continued to develop this dialogue on energy security. The focus here was on the question of how competitiveness can be made compatible with climate protection when it comes to energy supply. The emphasis was on energy efficiency, innovative technologies like offshore wind energy, and the supply security of electricity systems with a high proportion of renewables. The two-day Energy Ministerial resulted in a .