[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 7 June 2007, 00:27 GMT 01:27 UK
Bush's Europe tour diary: Day Two
US President George W Bush arrives in Germany for the G8 summit, on the second day of his tour of Europe. BBC state department correspondent Jonathan Beale is travelling with the president and recording his experiences in a daily diary.


The G8 leaders and their husbands, wives, partners or whatever have just attended the opening dinner of the summit.

A lesson in sartorial elegance it was not.

Nicolas and Cecilia Sarkozy arrive at banquet
Cecilia Sarkozy won plaudits for her dinner outfit

The host Angela Merkel welcomed them one by one on a red carpet. She was dressed in what one of my unkind American colleagues called a trouser suit hand-me-down from Hillary Clinton. None too flattering but not as wicked as the British tabloid that showed a photo of her in a bathing suit.

On a balcony the brass section of a German band were wearing what looked like Lederhosen.

But the biscuit went to Mrs Putin. An elaborate ball gown with shiny material and tufts that could have once been a curtain hanging from a French boudoir.

She clearly had not read the memo that had said keep it simple.

The new French president's wife, Cecilia Sarkozy, won the fashion awards. A flattering simple dress and a flat pair of shoes so as not to make the diminutive Nicholas Sarkozy feel too inadequate.

Altogether though, it felt very East Germany circa 1980.


What country do U2 front man Bono and Sir Bob Geldof represent at the G8 summit?

Perhaps it's a sop to Ireland. The Celtic tiger is not a member of the so-called leading group of industrialised countries.

More likely that these two white men are now seen as ambassadors for the people of Africa.

(left to right) Bob Geldof, Angela Merkel, Bono
Geldof and Bono are regular fixtures on the summit scene
The two ageing rock stars are now a permanent fixture at the yearly heads of state gathering. And they are not too embarrassed to be seen with President Bush.

He and America's first lady will be meeting with them tonight. Although it is almost inevitable that President Bush will be portrayed here as the party pooper for blocking efforts to set hard targets to tackle climate change, he has in fact a rather better record than most in giving aid to Africa.

Mr Bush recently doubled his aid programme to tackle HIV-Aids on the continent - though not everyone approves of America's emphasis on abstinence before condoms. But at least he put his money where his mouth is.

Anyway the sight of Bono and Sir Bob shaking hands with the host Angela Merkel is a pleasant distraction from watching more men in suits arrive.

I suppose they're the nearest thing that the G8 has to do with those "normal people" who've been kept away.

The irony is that once Bono and Sir Bob would have probably felt more comfortable with the protesters on the other side of the razor wire fence - but now they're part of the world's political establishment.

Who said rock 'n roll is dead?


Rostock, Germany, and the White House press corps I'm travelling with are holed up in a hotel about an hour's drive from where the G8 summit is taking place.

Helicopter for Japanese PM at Rostock airport
A helicopter at Rostock airport is customised for Japan's PM

Like the thousands of protesters - who appear to be wandering the German countryside looking for some action - the media too is being kept at bay. Miles of fence topped with razor wire separate the world's leaders from the rest of us.

We catch an occasional glimpse of them fed onto our TV monitors in the filing centre.

From my desk I see a steady stream of jets land at Rostock airport.

I have just witnessed the prime minister of Japan's jumbo touch down. Apparently it has a sushi bar.

The world's leaders are then helicoptered into the Baltic seaside resort of Heiligendamm without having to worry either about any anti-globalisation demonstrations or about the press.

Many have travelled halfway round the world to talk about the urgent need to tackle global warming, burning up who knows how many gallons of fossil fuels in the process.

But it seems that might all be in vain. America has just put the kybosh on Angela Merkel's efforts to set new targets on cutting greenhouse gasses.

Europe diary: Missile defence
01 Jun 07 |  Europe

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific