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Barack Obama In Europe

  • May 24th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

obama-dublin-may-11.jpgPresident Barrack Obama arrived in Dublin on Monday with his wife Michelle, beginning a full working itinerary in Europe with a visit to an ancestral village — Moneygall in County Offaly, where is great-great-great grandfather once lived.

FAMILY TIME AND DOING BUSINESS

The helicopter trip to the countryside was set to be followed by talks with the Irish government, one of those under most pressure in the sovereign debt crisis, and an address to a large crowd.

The Irish visit will follow in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth II last week, see EUAustralia Online, “One Queen … “, 18.5.11); and the two heads of state are to meet at a state banquet in London, the next step in the European tour.

A highlight of the Royal visit was the Queen’s reconciliation speech to the Irish: “Our islands have experienced more than their fair share of heartache, turbulence and loss …”

Mr Obama, on a different kind of mission, declared he’d greatly enjoyed putting down a pint of Guinness – drawing a round of cheers.

WARFARE AND MONEY

obama-eu.jpgMr Obama is expected to talk with the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, on Wednesday, about the military commitment to Libya, and to address Parliament.

He’ll then attend the Group of Eight (G8) meeting at Deauville on Thursday, a strategic gathering at a time when the debt crisis remains unresolved.

Parallel to those discussions of the leading economic powers, manoeuvring to replace the former head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, would show up any shortening of the odds in favour of Christine Lagarde, currently French Finance Minister.

Prof. Strauss-Kahn resigned while gaoled on remand in New York, on a sex charge, (see EUAustralia, “One Queen, a ladies’ man  …”, 18.5.11); questions immediately were raised whether the tradition of having a European in the post should continue, given a certain shifting of money, and expertise in handling it, towards places outside of Europe, notably in Asia.

VOLCANIC CLOUD

President Obama has promised to go on to Poland on Friday before returning to Washington.

That leg of the trip will make up for an earlier visit cancelled because of the volcanic cloud drifting over from an eruption in Iceland, which paralysed air travel last year. (See EU Australia Online: “Airports freeze …”, 22.12.10; “Icelandic volcano – world without planes”, 18.4.10.)

(This week a fresh cloud was on its way, from another Icelandic volcano, said to be less menacing this time, because made up of heavier particles less likely to pose a threat, and because aviation authorities have been able to set up reliable protocols on dealing with any repetition of the problem).

Reference 

Barack Obama’s Middle East speech, The Guardian, Manchester, 19.5.11. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/obama-administration, (23.5.11).

Henry McDonald, “Barack Obama lands in Dublin to begin 24-hour state visit”, The Guardian, Manchester, 23.5.11. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/23/barack-obama-lands-dubin-ireland-visit, (23.5.11).

Mark Landler, “Obama Arrives in Ireland for Six-Day Trip to Europe”, NYT, NY, 23.5.11. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/24/world/europe/24prexy.html?partner=rss&emc=rss, (23.5.11).

Pictures    acus.org

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