Meeting on the occasion of the EU-US Brussels summit, Herman Van Rompuy, José Manuel Barroso, and President Barack Obama discussed the strong EU-US partnership, international foreign policy, the crisis in Ukraine and key global challenges.
International foreign policy and the Ukraine crisis
Recent events in Ukraine have confirmed that strong cooperation between the European Union and the United States on peace and security is of critical importance.
On Ukraine, the first priority for President Obama, President Barroso and President Van Rompuy is to de-escalate the situation. They noted first positive steps towards a start of negotiations with the first meeting of Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers, and Russian support for the OSCE mission in Ukraine.
EU-US leaders also discussed negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programme, humanitarian tragedies in Syria and the Central African Republic. They reacted to the mass death sentence of 500 Muslim Brothers in Egypt and urged Egyptian authorities to restore the rule of law.
After the cancellation of the G8 meeting, Herman Van Rompuy, José Manuel Barroso, and President Barack Obama agreed to meet again in Brussels and hold the next G7 summit there in June.
Economy and global challenges
Reinforcing economic growth and job creation remains central on both sides of the Atlantic. The EU and the United States have taken important steps to stabilise financial conditions and overcome the crisis. The EU remains committed to building a deep and genuine economic and monetary union, including a banking union.
EU and US leaders talked about energy security and reducing Europe's dependency on Russian gas. President Barroso welcomed the prospect of US gas exports in the future since additional global supplies would benefit Europe and other strategic partners.
They spoke about climate change and confirmed their determination to work towards the adoption of a global protocol in 2015.
The EU and US leaders renewed their commitment to a strong Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). this should go beyond a free trade agreement and reaffirm Europe and the United States' shared values of democracy, individual freedom, the rule of law and human rights, and a common commitment to open societies and economies.
The summit was also an occasion to address European citizens' concerns about US surveillance programmes. An umbrella agreement on data protection is under preparation.
Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to completing secure visa-free travel arrangements between the United States and all EU Member States as soon as possible.
About the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
The EU and US have decided to take their economic relationship to a higher level by agreeing to launch negotiations on a comprehensive trade and investment agreement. It aims to remove trade barriers in a wide range of economic sectors to make it easier to buy and sell goods and services between the EU and the US.
Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, at the EU-US Summit on 26 March 2014, in Brussels.
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