July 16, 2010

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Barack Obama’s relationship with Europe ‘not living up to its potential’ Mr Barroso believes that the relationship with the White House and the EU has been affected by disagreements on how to tackle the global economic crisis, as well as climate change and trade reform. In an interview with The Times, Mr Barroso said the US should reach out to Europe, calling on a “mutual” relationship. “The transatlantic relationship is not living up to its potential. I think we should do much more together. We have conditions like we have never had before and it would be a pity if we missed the opportunity.” US officials have defended the relationship, arguing that when Mr Obama entered office, “expectations were probably so high that they could not have been met when you look at the European response to the election.” Hugo Brady, of the Centre for European Reform, said: “Obama was always overblown as a symbol because US foreign policy interests tend not to change. The US does not understand the need for everyone to be around the table at the EU, which they find as frustrating as a mini-UN where people want to talk about the good things they have done.” Richard Haas, head of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Washington think-tank, told the newspaper that the EU lacks someone of stature to negotiate with, in reference to the appointments of Herman Van Rompuy as President of the European Council and Baroness Ashton as High Representative for Foreign Affairs. “Europe created these posts to speak for the collective as a whole. But from the perspective of many Americans, rather than building up someone of the stature of [the former Nato Secretary-General] Javier Solana, it looks as though Europe has retreated,” he said.

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