I arrived in Washington today, ahead of tomorrow's United States-European Union Summit where President Obama will welcome the leaders of the EU at the White House to discuss a broad range of issues of mutual concern and to see how we can work together to keep our strong partnership going forward.
The interesting quality of U.S.-EU summits is that unlike other summits we do not come to the table spending a lot of time trying to convince each other of things; we are usually already on the same team. It is more of a strategy session because we are partners on so many issues around the world.
The summit is an opportunity for President Obama to sit down with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and High Representative Catherine Ashton. This meeting comes at an important time in the transatlantic relationship. I expect there to be a good and worthwhile discussion of the debt crisis, which affects us all profoundly. But we will also look beyond the crisis at the long-term economic relationship of the United States and the EU, and how we can leverage the power of our respective economies and our trading relationship to promote economic recovery and growth both in the United States and Europe.
The United States and the European Union form the largest economic relationship on the planet, dwarfing any other. We have a remarkably complex and close economic relationship, with roughly $4 trillion in investment and trade. The United States and the European Union have benefited immensely from our relationship, and the real story is that nearly all of this trade occurs without any friction, creating tremendous value for our companies that do business on both sides of the Atlantic.
Beyond economic issues, the summit agenda represents the continuing importance of the U.S.-EU partnership around the world, such as our joint work to support democracy and prosperity in the Arab Spring countries; our continuing coordination on Iran; and our commitment to improved transatlantic law enforcement and counterterrorism cooperation. The world looks to the United States and Europe on major issues, and transatlantic cooperation continues to provide the building blocks of international policymaking. To that end, the summit will be held in conjunction with three important groups: the Transatlantic Economic Council, the Forum on High-Level Regulatory Cooperation, and the U.S-EU Energy Council.
I'm looking forward to a great discussion with our friends across the Atlantic. Look for my updates throughout the summit tomorrow on Twitter @USAmbEU.