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Changing Patterns at the G7 Summit
Nicholas Bayne

G8 Governance No.1 (May 1997)

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Hanging Together is now a decade old. The main research was done in 1982-83; the first edition was published in 1984. After updates in German, Japanese and Italian, the second English edition appeared in 1987 - just in time to include a postscript on Venice II. It was thus based on experience of the first 12 or 13 Summits.

There have now been nine more Summits, including Lyon in 1996. What has happened since Hanging Together was written? How has the pattern changed? To address these questions, I shall draw especially on my own experience of the preparations for Paris 1989, Houston 1990 and London 1991, as well as my presence at Halifax 1995.

Three concerns underpin this analysis.
First, Robert Putnam and I had different backgrounds and different interests. He was interested in academic theories and the interaction of bureaucracy and politics. My interest is in the choice of Summit topics and in the Summit's interaction with wider international institutions.

Second, I am interested in the Summit as such - what heads of government do. I have not followed John Kirton in the study of the entire G7 apparatus, though I recognise its growing impact.

Third, I am more interested in economic than in security issues, though the arrival of the Russians is making the Summit more political and less economic.

This analysis covers two main fields. The first is the impact of the G7 Summit since 1987 in four mainly economic areas: trade and the GATT/WTO; environment and related subjects; finance, debt and the IMF/IBRD; and the United Nations. The second is the change in the Summit as a result of the end of the cold war and the arrival of the Russians.

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