The Group of Eight (G8) is a forum for the governments of eight of the world’s largest national economies as nominal GDP with higher Human Development Index.
The forum originated with a 1975 summit hosted by France that brought together representatives of six governments: France, West Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It was then named as Group of Six or G6. The summit became known as the Group of Seven or G7 the following year (i.e. 1976) with the addition of Canada. In 1998, Russia was added to the group which then became known as the G8.The European Union is represented within the G8 but cannot host or chair summits.
Collectively, the G8 nations comprise 50.1% of 2012 global nominal GDP and 40.9% of global GDP (PPP). The responsibility of hosting the G8 rotates each year, through the member states in the order: France, United States, United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Canada. The president sets the agenda, hosts the summit for that year, and determines which ministerial meetings will take place.
France and the United Kingdom have expressed desire to expand the group to include five developing countries, referred to as the Outreach Five (O5) or the Plus Five. These countries are: Brazil, People’s Republic of China, India, Mexico, and South Africa.