President George W. Bush has been welcomed by Austria’s President, Heinz Fischer, for a one day summit with several European leaders. Vienna is playing host to the gathering since it currently holds the rotating EU presidency.
This is Bush’s 15th visit to Europe since he took office. Although the leaders of Britain, Germany and France will not be attending the meeting, Bush along with and his Secretray of State, Condoleezza Rice, hope to make progress in several areas.
But Austria’s Foreign Mininster Ursula Plassnik has warned there are some contentious issues. Guantanamo Bay is one such topic. Most EU leaders are calling for the detention camp’s closure. Bush is expected to urge his European colleagues to push on with sanctions against Iran.
Then of course there is always the subject of trade. But, specifically, today’s agenda will include proposals to strengthen EU-US cooperation in dealings with energy suppliers such as Russia, and steps to counter terrorism. In general, the White House says the summit is an opportunity to reaffirm strong ties.