24th G8 summitThe 24th G8 Summit was held in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom on 15–17 May 1998. The venue for this summit meeting was the International Convention Centre, Birmingham.
The Group of Seven (G7) was an unofficial forum which brought together the heads of the richest industrialized countries: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada starting in 1976. The G8, meeting for the first time in 1997, was formed with the addition of Russia. In addition, the President of the European Commission has been formally included in summits since 1981. The summits were not meant to be linked formally with wider international institutions; and in fact, a mild rebellion against the stiff formality of other international meetings was a part of the genesis of cooperation between France's President Giscard d'Estaing and Germany's Chancellor Helmut Schmidt as they conceived the initial summit of the Group of Six (G6) in 1975.
Leaders at the summit
The G8 is an unofficial annual forum for the leaders of Canada, the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The 24th G8 summit was the last summit for German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto.
ParticipantsThese summit participants are the current "core members" of the international forum:
PrioritiesTraditionally, the host country of the G8 summit sets the agenda for negotiations, which take place primarily amongst multi-national civil servants in the weeks before the summit itself, leading to a joint declaration which all countries can agree to sign.
IssuesThe summit was intended as a venue for resolving differences among its members. As a practical matter, the summit was also conceived as an opportunity for its members to give each other mutual encouragement in the face of difficult economic decisions.
AccomplishmentsIn 1998, the summit leaders proclaimed an "Action Program on Forests" with a pledge to report back on progress in 2000, but there is little evidence of follow-up action or programme.
Business opportunityFor some, the G8 summit became a profit-generating event; as for example, the official G8 Summit magazines which have been published under the auspices of the host nations for distribution to all attendees since 1998.
Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister File:ChiracUSA.jpg| France
Jacques Chirac, President File:Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F074398-0021 Kohl (cropped).jpg| Germany
Helmut Kohl, Chancellor File:Romano Prodi in Nova Gorica (2c).jpg| Italy
Romano Prodi, Prime Minister File:Hashimoto Ryūtarō.jpg| Japan
Ryutaro Hashimoto, Prime Minister File:Борис Николаевич Ельцин.jpg| Russia
Boris Yeltsin, President File:Tony Blair in 2002.jpg| United KingdomTony Blair, Prime Minister File:Bill Clinton.jpg| United States
Bill Clinton, President File:Jacques Santer cropped.jpg| European Union
Jacques Santer, Commission President