Tapas or chocolate: Which EU President should greet Obama?

In May, Madrid will host the EU/US Summit, but the question is, who by right should greet US President Barack Obama? Should it be Spain, or should it be President of the EU Herman Van Rompuy?

For the first time in the history of the EU, the country hosting Presidency, currently Spain, will not chair meetings of the European Council or represent the EU abroad. Since the Lisbon Treaty, this power now falls to former Belgium Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy, rather than the Spanish government. Spain will now have less power to set the agenda than they would have had they hosted the Presidency last year.

Interestingly, after Spain completes its six month term, the new Presidency will be handed to Belgium, home of Van Rumpuy. In the past, Spain has held relations with the US high on its agenda.

The May summit will be a testing time for the new President, and should aid in defining the new roles. It will test coordination and cooperation of the roles, and depending on who greets President Obama, will define for the future what the exact roles are.


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