27th May 2019

EU-US Summit to focus on the positive

EU and US leaders will meet on Wednesday (25 June) in a bid to overcome a series of deep divisions which have racked EU-US relations in recent months.

Ahead of the summit both EU and US diplomats emphasised the need to get down to business and outlined an agenda packed full of issues on which both sides can agree.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

These so-called "deliverables" include signing a mutual legal assistance agreement, an extradition treaty, launching negotiations on a transatlantic aviation area and promotion of hydrogen economy.

But with US officials welcoming EU statements on security as a "new realism" both sides seem to be striking a more conciliatory tone.

"It is good to see Europe getting its act together on these issues. After all, some countries in Europe's backyard could soon become nuclear powers." said one US diplomat.

"There will be serious news coming out of the summit on these ideas."

Brussels matters

EU leaders also hope this week's EU-US summit may also mark a shift in the way Washington treats the Union.

In what is perhaps a sign of the delicacy with which the US is treating the summit, the EU delegation will meet with almost all senior figures in the administration, save the outspoken Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, who has been criticised by some EU leaders for his lack of diplomacy.

The Commission hopes the high-level reception signals a policy shift.

The Bush administration has caused consternation in Brussels by by-passing the Union and dealing directly with member states, even in areas where the Union has a clear mandate to negotiate for its members.

The Union's executive has legally challenged some member states for signing bilateral maritime security agreements with the US, an issue which will now be discussed with representatives of the whole EU, "It took them a while", remarked one Commission official.

Attempts to exclude US citizens from prosecution by the International Criminal Court has also caused bad feeling.

The EU has firmly backed the ICC, and has opposed attempts by the US to sign bilaterial agreements with some would-be EU members, resulting in some states being placed under enormous pressure from both sides. Diplomats did not rule out that this issue would be raised.

But with 'disaggregation' - or its more robust twin 'divide and conquer' - becoming the buzzword to describe US policy on Europe, Washington is keen to reject the notion that it is acting as a spoiler on European integration.

However, even with the political will and economic necessity, the list of remaining disputes is sobering.

Leaders are also expected to discuss a list of problems that have surfaced in the current round of WTO negotiations and have so far acted as a log jam on the whole of negotiations.

Discussions will also take place on an EU-US free trade zone.


EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

EU urges US not to start war with Iran

Europe's top diplomats have said US actions risked triggering a conflict with Iran, as America makes plans to pour troops into Middle East in echoes of Iraq war.

EU-Sahel talks next week amid 'unprecedented attacks'

Officials from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger are meeting EU foreign, defence, and development ministers next week in Brussels. The visit comes amid "unprecedented levels" of armed attacks, says the UN.

News in Brief

  1. Timmermans calls for 'progressive alliance'
  2. Catalonia's Puigdemont wins MEP seat
  3. Weber opens door to alliance with greens and liberals
  4. Tsipras calls snap Greek election after EP defeat
  5. Polish ruling PiS takes lion's share of EU vote
  6. Romanian voters punish ruling PSD party
  7. First official EP projection: EPP remain top, Greens fourth
  8. UK forecast puts Brexit Party on top, with 24 seats


EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Latest News

  1. Populists' EU breakthrough fails, greens and liberals gain
  2. Jubilant Greens in party mood after first EP projection
  3. 2019 European election results
  4. Thunberg: We can still fix climate, but must start today
  5. Turnout up in Slovakia, with pro-EU liberals scoring high
  6. Belgium votes in hybrid EU-national election
  7. Irish greens take Dublin in second EU exit poll
  8. EU election results to trigger top jobs scramble This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us