News / Europe

Ukraine, Energy Highlight Obama EU Talks

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a news conference during a EU-U.S. summit at the European Council in Brussels March 26, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a news conference during a EU-U.S. summit at the European Council in Brussels March 26, 2014.
Luis Ramirez
President Obama continues his efforts to build support among European allies against Russia's takeover of the Crimea region of Ukraine. At an EU summit - his first in Brussels - the U.S. leader said the Ukraine crisis is highlighting the need for Europe to diversify its energy sources.

Obama’s trip to the heart of Europe comes at a crucial time, when the U.S. is leading efforts to isolate Russia in an attempt to prevent Russian forces from going deeper into Ukraine - or to other nations in the region.

Obama made it a point to show that U.S. ties to Europe run deep.

The president started his day in Belgium with a visit to Flanders Field outside Brussels and laid a wreath at a cemetery where more than 1,000 U.S. soldiers killed in World War One are buried.

It was on to a lunch meeting with European leaders that officials said was aimed at reaffirming the U.S.-European partnership.

They talked about tightening sanctions if Russia encroaches further into Ukraine or other neighbors and about Europe's dependence on Russian oil and gas.

At a joint news conference with European Council leaders, Obama said that dependence is a point of vulnerability that European leaders need to examine.

“Energy is obviously a central focus of our efforts and we have to consider very strongly. This entire event, I think, has pointed to the need for Europe to look at how it can further diversify its energy sources,” said Obama.

Also on the agenda Wednesday was a meeting with the head of NATO. Obama said he would reassure NATO allies of what he said is Washington's unwavering support and its intention to abide by its guarantees to defend NATO members.

Obama came to Brussels from a nuclear security summit in The Hague, where Ukraine also overshadowed the agenda. There, the president warned against further Russian advances in the region.  He countered claims that Russia is the U.S.'s number one enemy, calling Moscow a regional power that overran Crimea not as a sign of strength but of weakness.

But there are signs the U.S. leader at the same time is being careful not to escalate tensions with Russia.

When asked about the possibility of expanding NATO membership to Ukraine and others in the region, President Obama said that is not an option for now.

“Russia has at least on background suggested one of the reasons they've been concerned about Ukraine is potential NATO membership. On the other hand, part of the reason that Ukraine hasn't formally applied for membership is because of its complex relationship with Russia. I don't think that’s going to change anytime soon, obviously,” said Obama.

At his stop in The Hague, the president also spoke on a domestic matter: his efforts to end the practice of having the U.S. government store phone records and have telecom firms do it instead. Obama hopes the move will help restore Americans' confidence.

The issue of U.S. phone surveillance is a sensitive one in Europe, following revelations last year of U.S. wiretapping of allied leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been present at meetings with Obama this week.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

New Yellow Fever Research May Lead to Improved Treatment

Researchers identify features of disease that may lead to more effective treatment More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid