The G7 Presidency’s role
Since the first 1975 Summit, the G7 Presidency has been assumed by each of the member countries on a rotating basis (with the exception of the European Union), in the following order: France, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada. The chair rotates on a yearly basis, from January 1st to December 31st.
The country that holds the Summit chairs all the G7 meetings during the year. The rotating presidency has the task of preparing the draft documents and proposing the priorities in various thematic areas, as well as coordinating the work among members. Furthermore, the G7 chair plays the important role of proposing and sustaining the decisions to be taken by the Heads of State and of Government during the Summit. This process takes several months, during which leaders, Sherpas, high-ranking representatives and technical working groups hold regular meetings to negotiate the language and terms of those decisions. Another task is to lead the dialogue and find a common position among Member Countries: it’s up to the G7 Presidency to mediate, to find consensus between partners, and to steer the various positions and opinions towards a joint stance.
The Presidency is also charged with elaborating the G7 priorities and the commitments that the leaders will adopt during the Summit, taking into account the positions and the proposals of the other G7 members. More often than not, the topics addressed from year to year remain the same; however each Presidency is empowered to propose new subjects. In this regard, the host country might organize a number of ministerial meetings focused particularly on the priorities of the Presidency. The Presidency, on behalf of the whole G7 group, also maintains relations with civil society, international organizations, and countries outside the G7, and is responsible for inviting a select number of the latter to the traditional Outreach session, held during the Summit.
As this year’s host country, Italy will also manage the technical and administrative aspects of all the events, including the Summit of the Heads of State and of Government. Unlike international organizations, the G7 in fact has no fixed office or personnel, nor can it count on specific financial and human resources. Therefore, the rotating Presidency provides whatever proves necessary for all the year’s events, organizes the meetings, and coordinates the working groups of experts and high-ranking representatives.
Finally, the country that hosts the G7 is entirely in charge of the organization and management of the Summit. Usually, the host country chooses a venue and dates and communicates that information to its partners on the occasion of the previous year’s Summit. During the G7 Summit in Ise-Shima in Japan, Italy announced that the 2017 Summit will be held in Taormina on May 26-27.