Now that the G20 has staged its first ever summit, it is clear that the venerable old G8 has a real challenger on its hands. The G20 has a lot going for it. It includes China, India and Brazil. It has the aura and excitement of novelty. It even has another summit scheduled – in April – which will be well before the next big G8 gathering in Italy this summer.
On the other hand, the G8 still has some advantages. It is a smaller and less unwieldy group. It has a history and an institutional weight behind it. It still contains most of the world’s leading economies – and they are all democracies. Shared values, and all that.
In fact, I would even argue that the G8 was quite well-placed to see off the upstart G20 – were it not for one thing. Next year it will be presided over by that one-man wrecking crew, Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister of Italy. Read more