Friday

26th Aug 2016

Obama 'very engaged' in eurozone rescue talks

US President Barack Obama is "very engaged" in talks with EU leaders on the eurozone rescue, but is keeping his advice behind closed doors rather than adding to the "cacophony" of solutions floated publicly, Washington's envoy to Brussels William Kennard told reporters on Friday (2 December).

With the experience of the 2009 financial crisis, the US administration "can offer a lot of advice, but we made a point in not discussing it publicly," Kennard said.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Active behind the scenes, restrained in public: Obama does not want to add to 'cacophony' of eurozone solutions (Photo: White House)

Ever since the G20 summit in Cannes last month, Obama "has been very engaged privately" on the eurozone crisis and "made many phone calls and bilateral meetings to offer his advice," the ambassador added, without wanting to go into any specifics of the solutions backed by Washington.

One of them, as reported in the financial media, is for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to take a leading role in the rescue. Kennard said that the IMF option was "not part of the discussion" at an EU-US summit in Washington on Monday and Tuesday.

As to whether the international finance body is big enough to afford loans to large eurozone countries like Italy or would need extra cash from the US coffers, the ambassador said only one thing: "We feel the IMF has sufficient resources to deal with this."

With Germany still opposing the creation of eurobonds and the permission for the European Central Bank to intervene massively in helping countries like Italy and Spain borrow money from the markets, the sense of urgency was once again spelled out by Obama during his meeting with Council chief Herman Van Rompuy and commission chair Jose Manuel Barroso.

"President Obama has repeatedly said we want to see bold, quick and decisive action by EU leaders. I think European leaders would like to see the same thing, but it's a difficult political structure," the ambassador said, stressing that Europe has the resources and capacity to solve this crisis on its own.

Compared to the EU-US summit last year, which was hold for a few hours on the margins of a two-day Nato summit in Lisbon, this time the "chemistry was particularly good", the ambassador said. "It was better as it was at the White House. In Lisbon it was a little awkward, because it was nobody's turf."

It also helped that the leaders already knew each other and that their talks had "substance" - the eurozone crisis.

"President Obama said our summits are not dramatic events, because we're not trying to convince each other of our position, we take stock and strategise forward," the ambassador said, noting that in the major foreign policy dossiers the two sides of the Atlantic are on the same page, which was not the case with previous administration.

During the summit, leaders also decided to set up a working group on 'jobs and growth' which may lead to the conclusion of a free trade agreement between the EU and US, but also other areas of common rules and standards, for instance when it comes to electric cars or smart energy grids.

Kennard mentioned a possible "common regulatory approach" on nanotechnology and joint standards for inter-operable health records.

"We try to have compatible regimes, which would be good both for businesses and for consumers to have confidence in the transatlantic space," he noted.

News in Brief

  1. Greek minister denounces EU letter on former statistics chief
  2. Turks seeking asylum in Greece may cause diplomatic row
  3. Merkel becomes digital resident of Estonia
  4. Report: VW will compensate US dealers with €1bln
  5. EU mulls making Google pay news media for content
  6. Sweden to name new EU ambassador
  7. Deutsche Boerse and LSE request EU merger approval
  8. Scotland appoints Brexit minister

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  2. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  3. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  4. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  5. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  6. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  7. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  8. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  9. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  10. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey
  11. GoogleA Little Bird Told us to Start Tweeting About Google’s Work Across Europe. Learn More @GoogleBrussels
  12. Counter BalanceThe Trans Adriatic Pipeline: An Opportunity or a Scam in the Making for Albania?