The G7/G8 System
An assessment of the G8’s relevance to, and relationship with, the EU requires a careful charting of the G8 system’s development as an international institution since its 1975 start, in the context of the many recent moves toward and proposals for often far reaching G8 reform. Such calls are currently driven by an emerging consensus that the G8 is rapidly losing its relevance in a world, where power is shifting to the many emerging economies outside the established club (Ikenberry 2008; Payne 2008; Fues 2007). The central claim is that the G8 as a centre of global governance is declining in effectiveness, responsiveness, representativeness and legitimacy largely because it no longer commands the globally predominant capability
it once did. The primary prescription is that the G8 must reach out to include as full members the rapidly rising powers of China, India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, and perhaps others or soon be replaced by broader bodies such as a G20 finance ministers’ forum now elevated to a summit level club (Cooper, Jackson 2007; Lesage 2007; Martin 2006; Gnath 2007). Countering
this consensus stand the G8 governors themselves, who have largely resisted this analysis and advice. But in the scholarly world, defenders of the current G8 configuration and the global governance status quo are very few indeed (Uda 2008; Payne 2008).