Reports of a transatlantic rift have been greatly exaggerated

Foreign Policy
February 3, 2010

European officials are reportedly “miffed” that President Obama isn’t going to attend an EU summit in Spain this May. The Times says that the summit may be postponed, and England’s Guardian refers to a “diplomatic row,” says the summit might be canceled entirely, and quotes one unnamed envoy saying “if there is no Obama, there is no summit.” By contrast, the Financial Times takes a more measured view. Instead of a headline emphasizing a riff, spat or snub, the FT headline says “EU Leaders Play Down Obama Decision on Summit,” and the story quotes EU foreign policy head Catherine Ashton describing U.S.-EU relations as “warm” and “good” and refusing to turn this into a big diplomatic incident.