Wednesday

27th Jan 2021

Prague courts Obama for April visit

  • The Czechs would like Barack Obama to send a signal to smaller EU countries from Russia's former sphere of influence (Photo: The Israel Project)

With less than two months to go until the new US president's first visit to Europe, Czech officials are pushing for an EU-US meeting to be held in Prague.

"It's our impression that the new administration doesn't just care about the fat cats - Germany, France and Britain - but they care about the small countries, too," Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, told the International Herald Tribune newspaper.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"It's important that the United States also do this in a country that 20 years ago belonged to the Soviet pact," he added. Mr Schwarzenberg noted that an Obama visit to Prague would be an important message to Moscow, which continues to view the Czech Republic and Poland as part of an "eastern zone."

During his trip to Europe, Mr Obama will first go to London on 2 April, where he will attend the Group of 20 large industrialized countries (G20) meeting scheduled to discuss overhauling the global financial system.

On 3 to 4 April, he will be in Strasbourg (France) and two towns in Germany - Kehl and Baden-Baden - for a NATO summit marking the alliance's 60th anniversary and France's full re-integration into its military structures.

With UK, France and Germany ticked off, the Czechs are hoping that Mr Obama will also head to their country for an informal top-level meeting with EU leaders.

After cheering Mr Obama's November victory, European leaders soon found out that the new administration in Washington had other priorities than the old continent. In his first hours in office, Mr Obama telephoned Middle Eastern leaders, breaking the tradition of calling Europe first.

It was only three days later that the US president picked up the phone to London, Paris, Berlin and Moscow.

Mr Obama's foreign policy choices are also reflected in his secretary of state's visit to Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and China this week, again, ahead of the traditional European visit.

US vice-president Joseph Biden, however, did visit Europe on 7 and 8 February, to take part in the annual Munich security conference, where he met German chancellor Merkel, French president Sarkozy and EU commission president Barroso. Mr Schwarzenberg was also present.

Navalny protests sharpen EU sanctions talks

Street violence in Russia redoubled calls for new sanctions when foreign ministers meet on Monday, after eight EU states earlier proposed asset-freezes and visa-bans.

Analysis

Ten years on from Tahrir: EU's massive missed opportunity

Investing in the Arab world, in a smart way, is also investing in the European Union's future itself. Let's hope that the disasters of the last decade help to shape the neighbourhood policy of the next 10 years.

EU and Cuba appeal for Biden to open up

The EU is coaxing US president Joe Biden to open up to Cuba amid its worst economic crisis in decades, but foreign money risks feeding the regime's "feared" rule.

Opinion

The under-reported power struggle at the top of the OSCE

An internal power struggle has undermined the world's leading international security body since the summer. The OSCE is due to finally get new leaders in December but the unprecedented power vacuum has hit at a crunch time for hotspots worldwide.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. Giuseppe Conte: scapegoat or Italy's most cunning politician?
  2. Borrell to meet Lavrov, while Navalny behind bars
  3. Too few central and eastern Europeans at top of EU
  4. Rift widens on 'returns' deadline in EU migration pact
  5. EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map
  6. Migrants in Bosnia: a disaster foretold on EU doorstep
  7. Navalny protests sharpen EU sanctions talks
  8. Why Russia politics threaten European security

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us