What is the G-7? A quick explainer of the summit

(From left) Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italy's acting Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and president of the European Council Donald Tusk pose during a G-7 coordination meeti
(From left) Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italy's acting Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and president of the European Council Donald Tusk pose during a G-7 coordination meeting with the Group of Seven European members at the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, France.PHOTO: REUTERS

BIARRITZ, France (DPA) - The G-7 summit this year is taking place in the French resort town of Biarritz, in the south-west of the European nation.

The G-7 stands for the Group of Seven. The elite club of major democratic economies was founded in 1975, in the wake of the oil crisis in that era and changes to the global monetary system.

Originally, the group included the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. Later, Canada was brought in. The European Union is also now regularly invited.

Russia became part of the club in the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, making it the G-8.

However, Moscow was expelled after it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, spelling the end of an idea in the West that the country would become a liberal, open-market democracy.

The group's origins are in global economic coordination and stability, though some of that role has been shifted to the G-20, a larger group that is focused on the world's largest economies, regardless of their political status, such as China.

Even without China, India and other powerhouses, the G-7 countries make up nearly half of the global economy.

Host France is keen to talk about climate change and global trade, while the digital economy, including crypto-currencies and other projects, are on the agenda.

The raging fires in the Amazon have also sparked alarm, with French President Emmanuel Macron calling for the summit to agree on action on the issue - drawing the ire of Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro.

The US trade war with China will be overshadowing the event, amid growing concerns over global growth. Macron says he wants to convince the attendees such tensions are bad for all sides.

Similarly, Brexit will be on the minds of Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel as they meet - for the second time in a week - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is determined to exit the EU by the end of October.

While the US is nominally an equal member of the G-7, it always has an outsized importance due to its leading role in the global economy and its leadership of the Western alliance, though this partnership has been increasingly tested in recent years.

President Donald Trump's often antagonistic relationship with allies has become a feature of recent summits, adding to consternation about the prospects for the summit agreeing on and meeting meaningful goals.