After two days of meetings in Lisbon that began with NATO and included the European Union (EU), President Barack Obama covered a lot of ground and termed the meetings “extremely productive.”
Trade was on the agenda as Obama met Saturday with Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council president, and Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, in two hours of talks at the NATO summit setting—their first such meeting in a year. The two sides agreed, according to Reuters, to join forces to try to bring about a successful conclusion to the Doha trade negotiations scheduled for 2011.
Reaffirming a commitment made in Seoul earlier in the month to promote balanced growth and avoid currency imbalances, while recognizing the importance of fostering trade, the two sides issued a joint statement:
"We highlighted our commitment to reject protectionism as a response to the challenges our economies face. We reiterated our strong commitment to direct our negotiators to engage in across-the-board negotiations to promptly bring the Doha Development Agenda to a successful, ambitious, comprehensive and balanced conclusion. We recognized that 2011 is a critical window of opportunity and that engagement among all negotiators must intensify and expand to complete an agreement that will expand trade and open markets."
The talks had originally been scheduled for May, but was postponed. The short meeting at the NATO gathering included a discussion of the EU’s current economic woes, as well as Ireland’s precarious position.