Obama to meet EU leaders in brief summit

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Obama to meet EU leaders in brief summit

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NATO is not the only reason for President Barack Obama’s trip to Lisbon. Today the US president and leaders of the European Union will try to show they are not drifting apart.

The top level US-EU talks will be brief but any meeting at all is a relief for the bloc after Obama decided not to attend a summit in May.

However the two sides are unlikely to be able to hide their differences over economic strategy. European governments were alarmed by the Federal Reserve’s decision to pump 600 billion dollars into the US economy. And their austerity plans contrast with Obama’s preference for more govenment spending.

Friday’s talks between the transatlantic allies

focussed on energy. Today’s US-EU summit is only due to last for two hours, tagged onto the end of

the NATO gathering.

Europe wants assurances it still matters to Washington as the Americans forge ties with emerging economies such as China.

Our correspondent in Lisbon, Jose Miguel Sardo, says that with both these summits, Barack Obama is putting the White House’s new multilateral policy into practice. After his Asian tour, the president is starting a period of intense diplomatic activity with Europe which is set to continue until the end of the year with the OSCE summit in Kazakhstan.