February 11, 2010 8:33 pm

Suit ability: Enter the white knight

Jose Manuel Barroso, Angela Merkel, Herman Van Rompuy, George A. Papandreou, President Nicolas Sarkozy©Getty

Greek chorus: Papandreou is flanked by Merkel (l) and Sarkozy at the EU summit

Greek chorus: Papandreo flanked by Merkel (L) and Sarkozy, with Barroso (L) and Van Rompuy behind them, at the EU summit

The conflicted attitudes of the European Union’s members towards the state of Greece’s economy, not to mention their differing ideas about what to do about it – as well as what they finally did decide to do, at least as far as beginning to address it – could, perhaps, have been predicted by a quick glance at what the main players decided to wear to Thursday’s summit.

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Vanessa Friedman

The majority of men’s shirts, after all, were blue, the colour of depression – as seen on Nicolas Sarkozy, president of France; José Manuel Barroso, EU commission president; and Herman Van Rompuy, EU president – while George Papandreou, prime mininster of Greece, who was clearly in need of a white knight, sported white.

And lo, there she was: Angela Merkel, German chancellor, in, well, an off-white jacket.

Hard to ignore a statement like that, especially from someone who tends to favour black. Hard also not to note, however, that Ms Merkel’s jacket wasn’t full-on, pristine white, and was, indeed, topping black trousers. While the chancellor might be willing to ride to the rescue, in other words, she wasn’t without her concerns, nor would her support be without strings.

Meanwhile, the ties told a story all their own: An array of four solid colours (or so subtly printed they looked solid) hinted at the unified front Mssrs Barroso, Van Rompuy et al have to present.

Even more interestingly, however, if you combine (at least theoretically) the light and dark blue of Mr Sarkozy and Mr Van Rompuy’s ties with Mr Barroso’s red, you get…Mr Papandreou’s purple. Draw your own conclusion.

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