Angela Merkel and Barack Obama kicked the day off with a breakfast beer. Before you judge them too harshly, consider the agenda they’ve got ahead of them at the G7 summit. You might want a crisp weissbeer to start the day too.
Obama arrived in Germany fresh from delivering a moving eulogy for Beau Biden, the vice president’s son, in Wilmington, Delaware, on Saturday. Merkel, the German chancellor, is hosting the leaders of Canada, France, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom as well as Obama at the foot of the Bavarian Alps for the summit. As Reuters notes, Merkel has planned an agenda that includes discussion of climate change and global-health challenges like Ebola, but those are likely to take a backseat to two, more pressing crises on Europe’s outer edges.
One is the plight of Greece, with the nation’s leftist government and its creditors engaged in the latest round of brinksmanship over its debt. Greece is running out of cash, but international creditors are refusing to release bailout money unless the government makes concessions. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, elected on a platform of fighting back against European-imposed austerity, has refused to budge. Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, had expected to have a proposal from Tsipras several days ago, but he was “visibly angry,” according to The Guardian, speaking about negotiations on the sidelines of the G7 Sunday.