President Obama met with European leaders at the EU-US Summit in Brussels March 26 to discuss Ukraine, global challenges, and international foreign policy.
The EU was represented by the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso.
High on the summit’s agenda was the Ukraine crisis with all parties aiming for deescalation.
“Russia stands alone,” said Obama. “If anyone in Russia thought we wouldn’t care or they could drive a wedge between the EU and the U.S., they are sorely mistaken.”
The U.S. and allies suspended Russia’s membership in the Group of 8 (G-8) industrialized democracies March 24 after Putin’s annex of Crimea.
The recent sanctions, according to Rompuy, are not for retaliation but positive incentive and the leaders agreed that these would increase if Russia continued on its present course.
“At a moment when the principles of international security and diplomatic engagement are challenged in Europe and the world, the cooperation between the European Union and the United States is of critical importance,” said President Van Rompuy.
This cooperation may be useful as President Obama pointed to the need for European nations to depend less on energy from Russian and to seek sources elsewhere, pointedly, utilizing natural gas from the United States.
The leaders also discussed negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program, the violence in Syria and Central African Republic and TTIP.
TTIP, or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, is a free trade agreement currently in negotiations between the United States and the European Union. Negotiations started during the economic crises in the EU and proposes to boost both nation’s economies by billions.
The agreement promises economic growth and job creation across the Atlantic and remove trade barriers across many economic sectors. Obama asked that critics wait until negotiations were complete before making judgments on the proposed partnership.
President Obama’s visit to Brussels marks his first ever to the European Union headquarters and the leaders agreed to meet again and hold the G7 summit in the capital in June.