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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More