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Labour and Social Policy at the G7/G20 Levels

March 27, 2017

International exchange: Germany is a member both of the group of the leading seven industrialised countries (G7) and of the group of the most important advanced and emerging countries (G20).

Two hands are holding the globe.

The G7 and G20 are not international organisations, but rather informal cooperation forums, which have become increasingly important in recent years. The heads of state and government of the members hold summit meetings at regular intervals to discuss global issues and to coordinate their actions. In addition, different ministries of these countries also meet regularly, for example the labour and employment ministers.

The G7

The Group of Seven includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America as well as the European Commission. The presidency of the G7 rotates between members on an annual basis. Germany held the G7 presidency in 2015 and handed over to Japan for 2016. In 2017, Italy chairs the G7.

G7 labour and social policy

During the 2015 German G7 Presidency, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) were able to put the topic of "Standards along supply chains: promoting decent work worldwide" on the agenda. When the G7 leaders met for their summit meeting in Elmau in June 2015, they incorporated this topic in their leaders' declaration. A number of concrete projects have been launched in order to advance this issue globally, for example, in multinational forums such as the G20 or ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting, an informal dialogue forum bringing together 31 European and 20 Asian countries).

Learn more about Germany’s G7 Presidency here:

German G7 Presidency in 2015

G20

The Group of Twenty has existed since 1999. However, the 2009 summit meeting of the heads of state and government of the G20 countries, which was held in Pittsburgh in the United States, marked an important turning point: Against the backdrop of the global financial and economic crisis, the leaders decided to turn the G20 into the key forum for international economic cooperation. Like the G7, the G20 is an informal forum. It is not an international organisation and thus does not have administrative staff of its own or a permanent representation of its members.

Along with Germany, the "Group of Twenty" has the following 18 members: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The EU is also represented. As is the case with the G7, the presidency rotates on an annual basis. In 2015 Turkey held the presidency; in 2016 it was China's turn, and in 2017 Germany is in charge.

G20 labour and social policy

The G20 Pittsburgh summit in 2009 also agreed to hold the first G20 Meeting of Labour and Employment Ministers in an effort to give labour and social policy questions the same weight in the discussions as economic and financial policy. The Pittsburgh leaders' statement stressed that "quality jobs are at the heart of the recovery" from the crisis. The first meeting of the G20 labour and employment ministers took place in Washington, D.C., in April 2010 and it was chaired by the US.

Here is a list of the other meetings of G20 labour and employment ministers:

  • Paris/France: 26 - 27 September 2011
  • Guadalajara/Mexico: 17 - 18 May 2012
  • Moscow/Russia: 18 - 19 July 2013
  • Melbourne/Australia: 10 - 11 September 2014
  • Ankara/Turkey: 3 - 4 September 2015
  • Beijing/China: 12 -13 July 2016
  • Bad Neuenahr/Germany: 18 - 19 May 2017

On 1 December 2016, Germany took over the G20 Presidency. During Germany’s Presidency, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is determined to advance the fight against inequalities and the promotion of inclusive economic growth among the G20. Together with our G20 partners, we want to work out concrete options for action and policy recommendations to make significant progress in achieving our joint goal of inclusive, productive, and resilient labour markets. The areas we want to focus on are:

  • improving the quality of female employment
  • integrating migrants and refugees into the labour market
  • promoting sustainable global supply chains
  • shaping the future of work

For more information visit the special section of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs on Germany’s G20 Presidency.