Russia has been booted out of the G8. It’s a big deal, and now it’s a G7, so what is the G8, or the G7, or the G8+5 or the G20, and is it the G19 now? And what does the G stand for anyway?
Let’s start with the easy bit, G stands for “Group”, yes it’s that simple, this is a group, not a non-governmental organisation, just a group. There’s no organisation, no offices, no staff. Think of it like the most powerful book group in the world, except people don’t talk about books, they talk about issues that affect everyone on earth.
It was a group of 6 when it started out, the six biggest economies on the planet in 1975:
- West Germany
- United Kingdom
- United States
Then Canada was invited along, because Canadians are nice. Russia joined in 1998, but are sitting it out on the naughty step right now. The EU gets a seat, but isn’t included in the number, four of the countries already come from the EU. That G8 group accounted for half of the world’s GDP.
Then there was a +5, taking account of some of the fast growing and hugely populous countries.
- South Africa
You may recognise some of thee nations from our primer on the Brics, Pigs and Mints.
The G20 brings in
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
But when counting up to get to 20, the EU does get a seat this time around.