Group of Seven

The thorniest issue on the agenda of finance ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) industrial countries when they meet in Berlin tomorrow will be how big - or small - a group they should become after the start of the single European currency. If Britain stays outside Europe's economic and monetary union, it could be pushed to the margins of the international meetings in future.

Yves-Thibault de Silguy, the European monetary affairs commissioner, said yesterday that the Euro-bloc countries would speak with one voice in G7 meetings, but he hinted that the G7 members who did not join the single currency at the start might find themselves being squeezed out of the corridors of power.

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