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Barroso welcomes Bush at EC headquarters

President Barroso welcomes US President Bush at European Commission headquarters

In the evening of 22 February 2005, US President George W. Bush, and European Commission President José M. Barroso, will meet at the Berlaymont building, the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels. Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson will also participate. President Bush will be accompanied by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor Steve Hadley, and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card. In the run up to the meeting, President Barroso declared today: “I am very much looking forward to welcoming President Bush to the European Commission and to exchange views on key bilateral and multilateral issues impacting transatlantic relations. America needs Europe and Europe needs America and by working together we can make the world a better one. We must combine our ideas, experiences and resources to promote democracy, freedom and prosperity and to build a safer world with opportunities for citizens around the globe.”

Timing and agenda

In the afternoon prior to the visit to the Commission President Bush will meet with the 25 Heads of State and Government of EU Member States (European Council format) and President Barroso at the Council. Parallel to this meeting, Foreign Ministers and Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner will meet with Secretary of State Rice.

The visit of President Bush to the European Commission will start with an exchange of views involving also the External Relations and Trade Commissioners and include an encounter with other members of the Commission.

President Barroso will then host a working dinner for President Bush and his party, for the President of the European Council, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, accompanied by the President of the Council, Foreign Minister of Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn, and the Secretary General of the Council/High Representative, Javier Solana. The dinner will also be attended by Commissioners Ferrero-Waldner and Mandelson.

This will conclude the visit of the US President to the European Union institutions.

The discussions at the Commission will focus on two main issues: the Community contributions to promote stability in the Middle East, including the Middle East Peace Process, Iraq and reform in the Broader Middle East, and on economic relations.

The Commission can make a substantial contribution to consolidating peace in the Middle East, both through its assistance programmes to strengthen institutions and by using its trade instruments to facilitate trade and stimulate economic development.

With regard to the economic relations, the Commission intends to inject new impetus into the deepening of the transatlantic economic partnership. Both sides are currently working towards a forward-looking, innovative strategy for endorsement at the next EU-US Summit to reduce barriers to trade and investment and develop the full potential of the transatlantic market. Public stakeholder consultations organised by the European Commission and the US Administration have provided valuable input into this process (see web page below).

Over dinner, the Commission representatives intend to raise issues linked to the promotion of effective multilateralism and to a successful conclusion of the WTO Doha Development Round, in order to ensure that common development goals will be achieved.

Press advisory

A technical briefing will be provided on 18 February 2005 after the daily midday briefing in the Commission’s press room.

A press conference of the EU Troika with President Bush will take place on 22 February 2005 at 18:45 hours at the Council press facilities (Justus Lipsius Building). Accreditations can be requested to the Council.

A pool system is being established for a photo-opportunity of President Barroso and President Bush in the Berlaymont building after 19:15. This will be a photo- opportunity only. Accredited Technical Press (Cameramen, photographers) wishing to participate in the pools should send their request by fax to Virginia Quirke at the Commission Audiovisual unit on Fax: 02-296 59.56.

Background

• The following Fact Sheets are available for background information:

• The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) – The Barcelona Process

• The EU – committed to the Middle East Peace Process

• EU support for Iraq

• The EU and Afghanistan

• The fight against terrorism

• Millennium Development Goals

• Tsunami and reinforcing EU disaster and crisis response

• EU-Ukraine action plan

• EU support for peace and security in Africa

• EU-US economic partnership

• The European Constitution

• EU military operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Operation EUFOR-ALTHEA)

• The EU Battlegroups and the EU civilian and military cells

• The European Defence Agency

For further information on the visit of the US President and for electronic versions of the Fact Sheets go to:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/us/bush/index.htm

For more information on EU-US relations in general go to:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/us/intro/index.htm

http://europa.eu.int/comm/trade/bilateral/usa/index_en.htm

For more information on the consultation of stakeholders on strengthening the EU-US economic partnership go to:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/us/consultation/index.htm

A EU-US relations press pack with latest news from the visit of the US President will be available at:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/press_room/presspacks/us20050222/index_en.htm


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