There is a serious drooping lately at the EU-US summits. Last year it was caused, aside by the consequences from the crisis but also by the philosophical question - why after all do we need summits with the EU since it is not very clear who is talking on behalf of the Community. This year the summit will take place in an even grimmer environment, because to all the current concerns from previous years now the serious situation in the eurozone is added. Moreover, the question who is talking on behalf of the Community becomes even sharper given the very clearly expressed leadership of France and Germany.
The spreading like a winter influenza virus crisis in the euro area was a reason for exchange of remarks from both sides of the Atlantic, as from Washington repeatedly and not always in the bon ton came warnings the crisis to be dealt with because it put at a serious risk the already disappointing performance of the American economy. From Brussels to Washington there were also several, although more diplomatic, messages, related to the debt crisis in the United States, the resolution of which has again been postponed after the special committee in Congress, established to find a compromise for a sustainable reduction of the budget deficit but also for spending cuts, dissolved itself before the deadline, without an agreement.
The transatlantic financial troubles were met by the leaders of the big emerging economies in the G20 with silence and visible reluctance for interference.
Against this entire background, it is quite natural that the main issue of the summit, which will start later tonight in Washington, will be the global economic situation. The European Union will be represented by European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso, by President Herman Van Rompuy and High Representative for Foreign Affairs baroness Catherine Ashton will also be in the delegation. She will have a special programme with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Barroso and Van Rompuy will discuss with President Barack Obama the EU's and US's responses to the crisis and how they could support growth and jobs creation.
Both Washington and Brussels came up with plans to boost jobs creation and economic growth but for now they are not met with much support. The purpose, however, is the EU and the US to find that boost that would allow both economies to start recovering. There are reasons for hope because together the economies of the EU and the US account for 49% of world's gross domestic product, one third of global trade and 15 million jobs directly depend on transatlantic relations. Trade between the two sides accounts for 1.8bn euros per day, which makes the EU the biggest trade partner of the US and vice versa. The difference with the second largest trade partner of the Community is significant - if the direct investments between the US and the EU amount to totally 2 trillion euros, the investment exchange between the EU and China is only 64bn euros. The data are from the European Commission from 2009.
Another important topic that is expected to be discussed in Washington is foreign relations, especially in the context of the rebellions in the Arab world, which are happening in the closest neighbourhood of the EU. Before the beginning of the summit there will be an American-European Energy Council.