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Global challenges top the agenda at EU-US summit - 11/06/2008

Commission president José Manuel Barroso, US president George W. Bush and Slovenian prime minister Janez Janša

EU leaders met with US president Bush to discuss the state of trade, the climate, energy and foreign policy issues in Brdo, Slovenia, on 10 June.

The problems that the EU and US face need urgent action - climate issues, oil and food prices can be tackled much more efficiently if the two regions work hand in hand.

The impact of climate change, soaring oil prices and insecure energy supplies on the world’s leading economies were under discussion as leaders prioritised low-carbon transport and energy, along with new, green technologies.

The EU hopes the US will cooperate and do more to take on the challenge of climate change. President Barroso said the EU is looking forward to a post-Kyoto deal in Copenhagen in 2009 where the two will set an example to the rest of the world; however, president Bush is still waiting for China and India to get involved in the international climate change battle.

EU-US cooperation is on solid ground, despite occasional differences on issues such as the death penalty or mandatory limits for carbon dioxide emissions. But both Mr Barroso and Mr Bush – attending his last EU-US summit - stressed the importance of a good EU/US relationship. Both agreed that by joining forces, they are stronger in the world and more able to help others, including developing countries.

One result of the summit will go down well with thousands travelling to and from the US. European travellers are likely to get visa-free access to the US in the future. At the moment, visa waivers apply to citizens of just 15 EU countries (14 of the pre-2004 members plus Slovenia). The EU wants equal travel status for all 27 of its member countries – and talks look positive.

Last year the two regions came to an agreement smoothing the way for greater transatlantic trade and investment in a deal that is now estimated to have saved European and US companies some €6.5bn.

For more details, see the joint EU-US declaration issued after the summit.

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