PositionBarack Obama

Establishing close transatlantic ties with the incoming Obama administration will be the top external relations priority for the Czech Presidency. A longstanding American ally, Prague wants to seize the opportunity of the arrival of the new US administration to revive transatlantic relations, which went under considerable strain during the Bush presidency. Czech diplomats hope to convince the newly elected US President, Barack Obama, to fly to Prague for his first European trip. However, the huge expectations triggered in Europe by the election of the new president will be challenged by the tense situations in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Russia will also be an area of substantial transatlantic discussion.

While a regular EU-US summit is scheduled to take place in America during the first half of the year, the Czech Republic is working hard to host a special summit with Obama and all EU leaders in its capital. It remains to be seen whether Washington will support such a plan.

Despite the appetite for renewed transatlantic ties expressed even by the least pro-American member states, such as France, European and US agendas could potentially clash sooner than expected. While the EU is urging Washington to engage with urgency in the Middle East peace process, the future US administration sees Afghanistan as a top priority and expects the Europeans to strengthen their military efforts there.

European diplomats are calling for a strong American push in order to revive the flagging Annapolis peace process. At the same time, the EU's military capabilities...

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