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Europeans looking past Bush presidency, but some US priorities will remain the same

Europeans looking past Bush presidency, but some US priorities will remain the same

President Bush's motorcade will speed through European capitals next week, but for many Europeans, the Bush presidency is already in their rearview mirrors.
Trans-Atlantic relations are on the upswing. European leaders have moved beyond their anger over the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. And while anti-Bush sentiment still runs high on the streets, it is being mollified by Europeans' excitement about the race for Bush's successor.
Like many Americans, Europeans have Bush fatigue and many believe that both presumptive presidential nominees, Barack Obama and John McCain, will have different positions _ perhaps more favorable _ than Bush on issues important to Europe.
"I'm sure there will be some protests, but I think people are just looking past this guy at this point and they're interested in what comes next," said James M. Goldgeier, an expert on Europe at the Council on Foreign Relations.
"There's no reason for any leader to give him anything because he's on the way out. You have a presidency that's losing energy, is consumed by Iraq and a president who is unpopular, in general, in Europe."
Bush's weeklong trip to Slovenia, Germany, Italy, France and Britain is not his final goodbye to his European counterparts. He sees them again at another summit next month in Japan. Yet, as he completes the final leg of his presidency, the jaunt through central and western Europe is one of Bush's last chances to further smooth U.S.-European relations for his successor.
The trip is not expected to yield any new deals. Bush will ask for Europe's help in Afghanistan and push for stronger sanctions against Iran to discourage the U.S. rival from developing nuclear weapons. Talks also will touch on humanitarian aid, the world food crisis, climate change and economic integration of both sides of the Atlantic.


Updated : 2021-06-25 03:21 GMT+08:00