February 1, 2010
was the message, according to the WSJ, that the US State Department chose to leave on the EU’s voicemail this weekend, presumably while the Spanish, who hold the EU Presidency, Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso all wrestled with each other as they failed to answer the phone.
Although this isn’t strictly true, it’s an image that fits with the ‘Kissinger question’ of “who do I call if I want to speak to Europe?”, if he ever actually said it that is.
What is true is that President Obama has pulled out of the annual EU-US summit this spring and one of the reasons is that the EU’s various presidents have been so busy arguing over who would get to shake his hand first that they apparently forgot to send out the invitations.
In the words of a State Department official, “We don’t even know if they’re going to have one [a summit]. We’ve told them, ‘Figure it out and let us know.'”
A more diplomatic official said, “Who attends from the US and at what point will depend on who’s calling the meeting. There’s a competition in Europe because you now have the standing EU architecture.”
This was supposed to be the first high-level EU-US summit after the entry into force of the EU’s ‘magical cure’, also known as the Lisbon Treaty, which was billed as the answer to the EU’s inability to deal with the outside world as one, creating a President, a Foreign Minster, and a diplomatic service.
But it turns out Obama doesn’t seem that bothered about coming round to watch the EU play with its new toys. For some strange reason the US President thinks it’s more important to travel to Asia in the spring, to South Africa in the summer and to Portugal for the NATO summit in the Autumn.
Just a thought but maybe that’s because there will be people there with something more important to say..Open Europe blog team