Finance Ministers Process
Regular meetings of G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors have been taking place since the 1986 G7 Heads of State Summit in Tokyo. This process was begun to improve communication and cooperation on issues that fall under the mandate of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. In 1986 the Canadian and Italian Finance Ministers were also invited to join the five initial members who had been meeting as a group for some time.
In 1997 the Heads of State Summit became known as the G8 to reflect Russia's participation. Until then G8 Foreign Ministers and G7 Finance Ministers met in conjunction with G8 Summits. At the Birmingham Summit in 1998, the group introduced the "leaders only" format, with Foreign Ministers and Finance Ministers meeting separately in advance of the Summit. There is still a clear distinction between the Summit process (including the pre-Summit Finance Ministers meeting which Russia attends), and the “core” G7 Finance Ministry and Central Bank process in its entirety. In the latter, participants exercise specific responsibilities that are autonomous from the Summit – for example on macroeconomic policy and surveillance, exchange rates, management of the international financial system, and the IMF.
At the 2002 Kananaskis summit, Heads of State agreed that Russia would assume the G8 Presidency for the first time in 2006 and host the annual G8 Summit. During 2006 Russia will also engage in the sessions of Finance Ministers meetings where Summit related business is discussed.
HM Treasury manages the UK’s participation in the G7 Finance Ministers’ process, whereas the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and No.10 Downing Street manage the UK’s involvement in the G8 leaders' process.
How the G7 Finance Ministers Process Works
G7 Finance Ministers meet four times a year, with Central Bank Governors attending all but the pre-Summit ministerial meeting. In 2005 the UK hosted a G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting on 4th-5th February and a G8 Finance Ministers Meeting on 10th-11th June to prepare for the G8 Heads of State Summit. As is customary, two other meetings have been held in Washington in conjunction with the regular meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank that are held in the Spring and Autumn. At their recent meeting in Washington, Ministers and Central Bank Governors also agreed to meet again in the UK in December.
The G7 Finance Ministers and G8 leaders are informal groupings with no permanent secretariat. The chair rotates on a calendar-year basis among the seven original member countries in the following order: France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada. The country that holds the chair serves as the secretariat for the year, and has the responsibility of speaking on behalf of the group and of engaging with other countries, non-governmental organisations and international organisations as required.
Back to top