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Blair joins G8 Summit

Blair joins G8 Summit

Prime Minister Tony Blair will attend the 30th G8 Summit in the USA this week.

The Summit is being held at Sea Island in Georgia from 8 to 10 June. It brings together the leaders of the UK, USA, France, Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada. The European Union has observer status and will be represented by the President of the Commission and the leader of the country that holds the presidency of the European Union - currently Ireland.

The first Summit in 1975 was attended by France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the USA. Canada joined in 1976, creating G7 or the 'group of seven'. The addition of Russia in the 1990s created G8. The European Community began participating in 1977 and the European Union is now a member of G7 and G8.

The Summits originally focused on global economics but the agenda now includes socio-economic, political, security and environmental issues.

The Presidency of the G8 and responsibility for hosting the Summit rotates each year. The UK will host the event next year and Russia will host its first Summit in 2006.

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