Grumpy, lukewarm support for eurozone Greece

The statement from the G8 has the rather solemn cadence of a creed. Or perhaps it is a prayer. I can imagine the heads of state and government mumbling it in unison, faces towards the heavens.

They are not all praying to the same god, and Olympus will receive slightly mixed messages. Who knows what it will mean in practice. But it is important and there is a clear change of emphasis.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The leaders are not all praying to the same god

The first stark sentence, "our imperative is to promote growth and jobs", means Presidents Obama and Hollande have won the day.

This is reinforced a few lines later with: "We commit to take all necessary steps to strengthen and reinvigorate our economies and combat financial stresses."

But then there's the caveat, the get-out clause: "Recognising that the right measures are not the same for each of us."

But there's more Obama stimulus friendly language: "We support structural reforms, and investments in education and in modern infrastructure, as appropriate."

This is followed by an allusion to Mr Hollande's idea, backed by David Cameron, of project bonds: "Investment initiatives can be financed using a range of mechanisms, including leveraging the private sector."

Mr Cameron and Mr Obama, outside the eurozone but in mortal peril if it spirals deeper in crisis, are demanding urgent, dramatic and speedy action. So "we support Euro Area Leaders' resolve to address the strains in the eurozone in a credible and timely manner" translates as "just hurry up and get on with it".

Perhaps the most important part of the statement is too balanced to give much of an insight into their plan, if they've got one.

But it is distinctly grumpy. "We affirm our interest in Greece remaining in the eurozone" is a pretty arm's-length commitment - as lukewarm as the average moussaka.

They would rather Greece stays in but they are not saying the alternative is catastrophic or that they would move heaven and earth to prevent it falling out.

There is also a killer phrase at the end of the sentence: "While respecting its commitments." In other words, Greece can't think it can duck austerity measures and still expect to be part of the club.

There have been plenty of words over the past few months and comparatively little action.

There is no hint of it in the communique, but the real importance of the meeting will be if Angela Merkel has got the message and is prepared to act on it.

I some how doubt that is going to happen. As was said on this morning's Today programme, we may have to get used to crisis becoming the new normal.