Europe: in the news for the wrong reasons
Most notably there was the discussion on nuclear safety to be held at the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, a follow up to President Obama’s own 2010 initiative. Then there were issues of inequality and poverty, which the President discussed at his final stop, during a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican. And at another stopover in Brussels, in between the Summit and the Papal visit, the American President met with the European Union’s leadership to discuss a whole range of issues. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a key transatlantic project, would likely have taken center stage, together with the ongoing crisis in Syria and negotiations with Iran. But in the end and due to recent developments, much media attention fell on one issue: the situation in Ukraine and the West’s relationship with Russia.
In his speech at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, the major public address of his stay in Europe, President Obama spoke almost exclusively about the developments in Crimea and – as the President called it – “Russia’s violation of international law”. Drawing on the lessons of the 20th century, the President condemned Russia’s leadership as “challenging truths that only a few weeks ago seemed self-evident, that in the 21st century, the borders of Europe cannot be redrawn with force, that international law matters, that people and nations can make their own decisions about their future.”
Peter Sparding is a Transatlantic Fellow in GMF’s Europe Program in Washington, DC, where he works on issues related to the transatlantic and global economy.