G7 finance ministers, central bank governors begin 3 day meeting

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 05:48 GMT, May 28, 2015 |

Little more than a gentlemen’s club in recent years, G7 finance ministers and central bankers have started their three-day meeting in the eastern German city of Dresden yesterday (Wednesday) evening with a sombre ceremony in Dresden’s most famous church, the Church of Our Lady (‘Frauenkirche’) – which was totally destroyed by bombs in World War Two and rebuild using only private funds.

In his welcoming remarks, German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, said having the opening ceremony in his particular church is a wanted symbol.

Hosts Germany have given the meeting in Dresden the heading “Towards a Dynamic Global Economy”, but they and officials from the United States, Japan, Canada, France, Italy and Britain must also grapple with the rise of a power not even present: China.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told last week officials could talk informally about the increased importance of the Chinese yuan. Britain’s finance guru, the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, praised Schaeuble’s contribution to Germany’s economical success.

The ministers have their work cut out this week to revive stuttering global growth and defuse tensions over China’s growing economic clout. Topping the agenda for the finance chiefs from the Group of Seven industrial nations is how to keep a faltering global recovery on track as the threat of a Greek default, rising oil prices and bond market turmoil fuel investor nervousness.

Earlier on, Schaeuble said there was not much progress in the Greek debt talks and he was surprised by the upbeat tone from some Greek government officials. Albeit hearing about the positive news coming out of Greece, the talks between the three institutions and the Greek government have not gone any further, he said.

The United States is likely to use the talks to press Europe to reach a funding-for-reforms deal with Greece.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said he feared a miscalculation could lead to a new crisis which could have consequences for the wider world and said Greece’s creditors may have to give some ground if its leaders took “the kinds of tough steps that they need to take”.