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More evidence that no one knows who’s in charge in Europe

I continue to find the "Obama is ignoring Europe" meme pretty tiresome. A case in point is this Der Spiegel article which argues that "By declining to come to Spain for a trans-Atlantic summit, President Barack Obama made it clear that Brussels is far down on his priority list," then admits that Obama came to ...

PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images
PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images

I continue to find the "Obama is ignoring Europe" meme pretty tiresome. A case in point is this Der Spiegel article which argues that "By declining to come to Spain for a trans-Atlantic summit, President Barack Obama made it clear that Brussels is far down on his priority list," then admits that Obama came to Europe six times last year, is coming to a NATO summit in the fall, and nothing much of any consequence happens at U.S.-EU summits anyway.

But, to my mind,  the much more interesting subtext to this is the unclear power dynamic of post-Lisbon Treaty Europe:

Politicians in Washington are perplexed by the herd instincts of the political caste on the other side of the Atlantic. The situation was supposed to improve with the Lisbon Treaty, but the opposite has proven to be the case. The French daily Le Figaro reported that, during a recent visit to Brussels, Mongolian leader Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj complained that he had just "been received by the European Council president, yesterday by the president of parliament and that he was just about to meet with the president of the European Council. Uh."

I continue to find the "Obama is ignoring Europe" meme pretty tiresome. A case in point is this Der Spiegel article which argues that "By declining to come to Spain for a trans-Atlantic summit, President Barack Obama made it clear that Brussels is far down on his priority list," then admits that Obama came to Europe six times last year, is coming to a NATO summit in the fall, and nothing much of any consequence happens at U.S.-EU summits anyway.

But, to my mind,  the much more interesting subtext to this is the unclear power dynamic of post-Lisbon Treaty Europe:

Politicians in Washington are perplexed by the herd instincts of the political caste on the other side of the Atlantic. The situation was supposed to improve with the Lisbon Treaty, but the opposite has proven to be the case. The French daily Le Figaro reported that, during a recent visit to Brussels, Mongolian leader Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj complained that he had just "been received by the European Council president, yesterday by the president of parliament and that he was just about to meet with the president of the European Council. Uh."

It’s not a good sign when protocol isn’t even clear for a visit by the president of Mongolia.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

Tag: Europe

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