The Group of 20 (G-20) brings together the European Union and nineteen countries that represent the world's major and top emerging economies. The group was established in September 1999 by the Group of Seven (G-7) industrialized nations, which convenes several times a year to discuss economic issues. It was formed in response to the financial crises of the mid- and late 1990s, with the aim of better integrating emerging economies into international dialogue on financial issues. It initially served as a forum for representatives from national finance ministries and central banks.
The meetings of November 2008, however, attracted G-20 heads of state to confront the economic crisis, producing a communiqué that sought to calm fears and prepare the way for possible collective action. The G-20 includes all the G-7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States), Russia (which also meets annually with the G-7 countries in a format for broader political discussions dubbed the G-8), as well as: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey. The European Union is also represented, both by its president and the chair of the Eurozone's central bank.
The G-20 meeting also brings together representatives of large international institutions. They include the president of the World Bank, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the chairs of the International Monetary and Financial Committee, and Development Committee of the IMF and World Bank.
There are no formal criteria for G-20 membership. Regarding the current composition of the group, the organization says "it was considered important that countries and regions of systemic significance for the international financial system be included. Aspects such as geographical balance and population...