Published on 18 Jun 2012

G20: eurozone for starters, dinner and pud.

These G20‘s are pretty unwieldy meetings when they’re all in the room. It would be bad enough if it was just 20 in the room, but also invited are “nearly made it” economies like Spain and international bodies like the EU, the European Commission, the IMF, World Bank, OECD. No wonder the bi-laterals and smaller meetings in hotels can produce more than the big occasion. Anyway, the afternoon session kicks off on the economy – dominated by the eurozone crisis – and the dinner tonight will be eurozone for starters, dinner and pud.

In the smaller huddles there will be some interesting dynamics at work. The Chinese, some think, are so obsessed with their internal political handover that they are not coming to make waves or even get a little scratchy as they did in Cannes. The US wants to minimise the pain the EU inflicts on the US economy but must’ve all but given up on any big turnaround happening in time to affect votes in November.

This is a damage limitation exercise for President Obama. His most challenging bi-lateral could be with President Putin, who snubbed the G8 meeting at Camp David but has deigned to come to this gathering. President Obama will have to echo Hilary Clinton’s warnings over Russian helicopters without provoking some kind of flounce by President Putin.

This is the view from the room where a few of us are about to put questions to the Prime Minister. Oddly, his team has decided it wd be better if he was interviewed inside with the curtains closed. Maybe it was a light balance issue?

David Cameron might be making a b-line for the Argentine President on the fringes of these meetings. He kicks off the one on trade, when he might have his own message for President Kirchner, but he’ll want to get across some points on the Falklands in private if he can.

The draft communique is a pretty bland document according to one who has seen it. The battle will be to keep in anti-protectionist messages etc not to build it up into anything very memorable or ground-breaking.

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