I have sat on several black leather sofas today, which suggests to me that I might be in Germany. If so, that is a good thing. The Germans are running both world and European affairs during the month of June. Next week they will be hosting the G8 summit. Then on June 22 Angela Merkel will be chairing a European summit in Brussels.
Things aren’t looking great for the G8. President Bush’s speech on climate change has been hailed as a huge breakthrough by Tony Blair. But I met a senior German official shortly after Bush had finished speaking and his first reaction was downbeat. As the Germans see it, there are two big things separating the European and American positions on climate change. The Europeans want to run climate change programmes through the UN and the Americans don’t. And the Europeans want strict, binding targets on the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. And they still don’t think the Americans are ready for that. It will be interesting to see if closer analysis of the Bush speech changes that view.