World leaders gather in Brussels for G7

Leaders of the world's seven richest nations are meeting in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday at the G7 summit. The meeting was supposed to be a Group of Eight meeting and was to take place in Sochi in Russia, but other leaders decided on a boycott following the Russian intervention in Ukraine. The summit is expected to cause considerable traffic disruption in the Belgian and Flemish capital.

Foreign policy, the economy, trade and energy security are all on the agenda of the summiteers that include America's President Obama. Given Europe's dependency on Russian gas and oil the international community's response to Russia's actions in Ukraine should lead to some very interesting discussions.

After the G7 in Brussels the summiteers move on to Normandy for events to mark the D-Day landings by the Allies that took place exactly seventy years ago. Here meetings are planned with President Putin of Russia.

In addition to the G7 nations, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US, the EU is also represented by Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

The summit starts with a dinner at which foreign policy issues including Ukraine will be discussed. Syria, Afghanistan, Mali, the Central African Republic and North Korea are also on the agenda. On Thursday the focus switches to the economy with discussions on the free trade deal between the US and the EU. International development is being discussed at the dinner on Thursday.

Disruption in Brussels

The G7 meeting is expected to create havoc in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday. Stringent security measures are in place and these will lead to disruption on the main Brussels thoroughfares and on the orbital ring road.

Parts of the European District around Schuman, the Wetstraat, the Froissart- and the Justus Lipsiusstraat are closed.