Understanding the G-7 before the Italian summit

President Trump continues his first international trip with other G-7 leaders.

May 26, 2017, 3:49 AM

— -- President Donald Trump is in Taormina, Italy, where he will attend his first Group of Seven summit.

The meeting comes a day after the U.S. president faced other world leaders at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, where he called out NATO leaders for "chronic underpayments" to the security alliance. Whether points of contention loom for Trump at the G-7 summit is unclear, but among possible areas of discussion will be whether the U.S. will withdraw the from the Paris climate accord signed between by nearly 200 nations during the Obama administration. Trump has publicly blasted the agreement in the past.

But coordinating and discussing international politics and economics is why the group of advanced industrialized countries exists. The group consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the U.S., and it has been meeting regularly since its founding in 1975. While not a country, the European Union is also represented at G-7 meetings.

The consultative diplomatic grouping was founded by six of the countries to discuss international economic policies following a period of global economic stagnation caused by the 1970s oil crisis. Canada was added the following year, and in the 1980s the group expanded its purview to discuss foreign and security policy issues.

For nearly two decades beginning in the mid-1990s, the addition of Russia made the G-7 the G-8. But after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, the other member countries disallowed Russia from attending the summit "as a result of Russia's violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," according to the G-7 organizers from the following year.

The G-7 meetings are hosted by one of the member countries in different cities every year. This year's summit will span Friday and Saturday, with scheduled sessions covering foreign policy about cybersecurity, terrorism, trade, climate and migration.

There will also be a closed meeting on Saturday with no agenda for the seven leaders to discuss.

National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, who is expected to attend some portions of the summit with Trump, told reporters Thursday that in addition to other topics, there will be a "fairly robust discussion" about climate but that the president will "ultimately make a decision on Paris and climate when he gets back" to the U.S.

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