This chapter examines how institutionalized summits served as a tool to foster trust during the Cold War. It argues that summits tried to foster trust both “internally” and “externally”: summitry aimed at developing not only trust among the leaders, but also crucially trust with regard to the Western (economic) system. These two ambitions—interpersonal and systemic—represented a vital transformation, albeit one imperfectly fulfilled, of the international system in the 1970s and 1980s.
G7/8/20 summits are often accused of many ills: club of the rich, producers of pointless communiqués, unduly gigantic gatherings, over-prepared meetings and media-show events – in a word, useless. This chapter argues for a more qualified assessment of their added value to global governance. This chapter assesses multilateral summitry along three lines, examining respectively the process (the G7 as a diplomatic instrument), the outcome (what agreements G7s actually reached) and the counterfactual (what if the G7 did not exist?).
German trade surpluses are making once again the headlines. The European Commission decided yesterday to launch an investigation into Berlin’s “excessive” trade surplus. This surplus is so large, the Commission argues, that it saps the strength of the Eurozone economic balance (or, put differently, nurtures its imbalances). But is this concern really new?
The volume investigates the rise of regular international summitry and its impact on international relations. It brings together the best specialists of this new field of historical enquiry in order to explore those features of global governance in their historical context, and open up an interdisciplinary dialogue with social scientists who have studied summits from their own disciplinary perspectives.
Regular meetings of heads of state and government seem, in 2012, a common feature of international affairs. About forty years ago, however, such meetings did not really exist: ad hoc summits were the rule. Comparing the emergence of the European Council in 1974 and the G7 in 1975, this article explains why and how summitry has become routine in international politics.
This chapter explores one of the very distinctive features of the organisation of G7 summits, namely the group of personal representatives, or ‘sherpas’. Following a prosopographical approach, the study highlights a number of common characteristics among sherpas, in spite of the potential heterogeneity of this group. It further underscores the ambiguity of the G7 as an institution as well as the web of complex relations in which the G7 has embedded itself over time.