G7 Dresden meeting: Strange balloon protest and that awkward family photo aren’t the only things casting a shadow over the G7 meeting
The G7 meeting is being overshadowed by fears of a Grexit… as well as a number of balloons with some of the world's most influential leaders on them.
Protesters from the international group One released the balloons last night ahead of the Dresden meeting, which representatives from the US, UK, Canada, France, Italy, Japan and Germany will attend, along with the IMF's Christine Lagarde.
David Cameron, Barack Obama and Francois Hollande were among several of the floating faces. They didn't exactly flatter anyone, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel definitely came off pretty badly.
However, once the balloons were gone there was still plenty of dark shadows being cast by the ongoing talks around Greece and its €320bn debt pile.
No one from Athens will be at the meeting, and Germany – which currently holds the rotating G7 presidency – has said the Greek crisis is not officially on the agenda.
But earlier today a Greek spokesman said “hopefully” a deal would be struck by Sunday, prompting German and French delegates to respond.
“At some point, the discussion has to be transformed into something on paper,” French finance minister Michel Sapin told Bloomberg. “You need a draft.”
“Negotiations between the three institutions and the Greek government still haven’t come very far,” German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in a TV interview late on Wednesday. Schaeuble added he was “always a bit surprised” when Greece says an agreement is near.
Lagarde agreed, saying although negotiators were "working very hard" that it "takes two to tango"
"Everybody has to be realistic and be focused on not playing a game, but trying to deliver economic growth, trying to deliver jobs for that country," she said.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob L. Lew added: “Everyone has to double down and treat the next deadline as the last deadline.”
The traditional “family photo” with finance ministers and central bank chiefs has been taken, although some have suggested it should be considered something of a dysfunctional family.