Russia's G8 Presidency: With an Ambitious Agenda, Can Moscow Deliver?

11-02-2014

In January 2014, the Russian Federation took over the G8 presidency from the United Kingdom, and with it the responsibility for shaping the year’s political agenda and for organising this year's G8 summit, to be held on 4-5 June 2014 in Sochi. A latecomer to the G8 (having become a member in 1997), Russia has assertively pursued its foreign policy interests within the group. The current Russian presidency has decided on a range of priorities, largely corresponding to Moscow’s own current policy interests and to the priorities of Russia’s previous, 2006 G8 presidency. This year’s foci include the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism, conflict resolution, disaster management and health security. While Russia has said it supports enhancing the parliamentary dimension of the G8, this year's annual speakers' meeting has again been scheduled after the summit itself – on 5-7 September 2014 (in Moscow) – which means the speakers' meeting will take place too late to feed recommendations and insights into the summit itself. While the G8 has been accused of elitism and of failing to fully implement its summits' commitments, the group remains an important platform for its members to discuss – and often find common positions on – key foreign policy issues.

In January 2014, the Russian Federation took over the G8 presidency from the United Kingdom, and with it the responsibility for shaping the year’s political agenda and for organising this year's G8 summit, to be held on 4-5 June 2014 in Sochi. A latecomer to the G8 (having become a member in 1997), Russia has assertively pursued its foreign policy interests within the group. The current Russian presidency has decided on a range of priorities, largely corresponding to Moscow’s own current policy interests and to the priorities of Russia’s previous, 2006 G8 presidency. This year’s foci include the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism, conflict resolution, disaster management and health security. While Russia has said it supports enhancing the parliamentary dimension of the G8, this year's annual speakers' meeting has again been scheduled after the summit itself – on 5-7 September 2014 (in Moscow) – which means the speakers' meeting will take place too late to feed recommendations and insights into the summit itself. While the G8 has been accused of elitism and of failing to fully implement its summits' commitments, the group remains an important platform for its members to discuss – and often find common positions on – key foreign policy issues.