The G7,which was originally a meeting-place for the Western leaders to better understand their respective points of view, has now become a communication platform. Far from sharing their opinions in private, the guests have become actors in a media show in which each of them tries to deliver a convincing performance. The worst moment of this G7 was the surprise concocted by Emmanuel Macron for the journalists, and against his US guest.
A club, not a decision-making organisation
At the moment of its creation in 1976 by Valery Giscard d’Estaing and Helmut Schmidt, the G-6 was a group for informal discussion. The French President and the German Chancellor wanted to exchange with their counterparts in order to understand their thoughts in the context of the dollar crisis which occurred at the end of the Vietnam war. It was not intended for making decisions, but thinking about the future of the Western economy. The guests were the same as those who had been invited by the US Treasury a little earlier, for the same reason. However, on this occasion, the meeting did not unite the Ministries of Finance, but the heads of State or government, to which Italy was added. The following year, Canada was also invited.
With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the division of the world into two camps, the G-7 began to look at political questions, then associated Russia with these informal discussions. But when Moscow rose again and opposed NATO in Syria, and refused the coup d’etat in Ukraine, trust was broken, and the Western powers decided to meet together as before. This episode shut down any desire to admit the participation of China.
The most recent G-7 meetings have produced a quantity of Declarations and Communiqués. This literature has formalised no decision, but has elaborated a common vocabulary which was all the more verbose since US internal policy was dominated by the « politically correct ». As always when one is unsure of having any counter-powers, the separation between reality and this discourse has grown increasingly.
A deviation occurred in 2005 in the United Kingdom, when Prime Minister Tony Blair attracted everyone’s attention by assuring that the G8 which he was presiding intended to cancel the debt of the 18 poorest countries in Africa.