The idea for the first meeting was the initiative of French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. In 1975 they instigated the first summit meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet, 50 kilometres south-west of Paris.

At the summit the heads of state and government of France, West Germany, the USA, Japan, the United Kingdom and Italy discussed the oil shock, the financial crisis and the ways out of recession. At this first G6 summit, they adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to meet in future once a year, under a rotating Presidency. In 1976 Canada joined the group, which henceforth became known as the G7.

Direct talks between the G7 and the European Community were held for the first time in London in 1977. The President of the European Commission was invited to attend the G7 summit. Now the President of the European Council and India also attend the summit meetings.