Last time Barak Obama made a formal visit to Europe he was on the campaign trail and got a huge welcome in Berlin.
Now as president he is heading to Europe on his first major foreign trip. London and the G20 summit his initial challenge. Splits between the US and Europe on how to tackle the economic crisis already emerged at a pre G20 – summit. Peter Gumbel, Europe Editor of Fortune magazine said: “ Not very much can be acheived. There’s so much disagreements. You’ve got the Europeans rejecting the Americans’ demand for greater stimulus. You’ve got the Americans and the British rejecting European demands for more financial regulation. “ Second stage of Obama’s testing trip takes him to a NATO summit in Strasbourg. Top of the agenda the new American policy in Afghanistan as the country’s security situation deteriorates. Countries like Germany refusing to commit more security forces, although Obama wants NATO to step up its presence. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “ We are glad to discuss this duty of NATO with the new American President Barak Obama. We want to create this mission successfully so that Afghanistan can support its own security ..on its own. Obama then travels to Prague. The Czech Republic holds the Presidency of the European Union until June. The government there has just collapsed having failed to tackle its own financial crisis While in the Czech capital Obama will deliver a speech on weapons proliferation. Finally to Turkey. Obama is likely to underline the importance of NATO in his first formal visit to a Muslim nation, which is also a NATO member. By the time he leaves Turkey, Obama will have been judged. Just how good a leader is he on the world stage.