The G8 summit meets every year over a weekend in the summer.

It brings together the Presidents of the United States and France;

the Chancellor of Germany; and the Prime Ministers of Japan, the

United Kingdom, Italy and Canada, together with the European

Union (Commission and presidency) and, since 1998, the President

of Russia. Each G8 member acts in turn as summit host while

holding the summit presidency, always in the same order: France,

US, UK, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada – Russia has not yet

hosted a summit. The G8 has no headquarters or staff of its own,

so all of the responsibility for preparing and holding the summit

falls to the country holding the presidency for the year. That gives

the host country an unusual opportunity to influence the direction

of international economic and political decision making, and most

G8 members use this opportunity to the full.