By Jueseppi B.
Previewing the President’s Trip to Europe
Published on May 30, 2014
Statement by the Press Secretary on the President’s Travel to Europe in June 2014
As part of the United States’ ongoing consultations with our allies, President Obama will travel to Poland, Belgium, and France in June 2014. While in Warsaw, the President will hold bilateral meetings and join other world leaders in commemorating the Polish Day of Freedom, marking the 25th anniversary of Poland’s emergence from Communism. From Poland, the President will travel to Brussels for the June 4-5 G-7 Leaders’ Summit, which was moved to Brussels after the G-7 Leaders agreed to cancel the G-8 Summit in Sochi due to Russia’s illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea.
The Leaders will discuss their broad shared economic, security, and development agenda and follow up on their March 24 discussion in The Hague on the situation in Ukraine. The President then will continue on to France to participate in commemorations marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The President appreciates the sacrifices made by our veterans and their families, and he looks forward to honoring them, along with the contributions of all the Allies. Further details will be provided at a later time.
Press Briefing by Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes on the President’s Upcoming Trip to Poland, Belgium and France
Via Conference Call
3:02 P.M. EDT
MS. HAYDEN: Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining on what we know has been a fairly busy Friday for you. Today we’re going to do a preview of the President’s trip to Europe next week. Our speaker is Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, Ben Rhodes. He’ll be speaking to you on the record, and there’s no embargo on this call.
So with that, I will hand it over to Ben.
MR. RHODES: Thanks, everybody, for joining the call on what I know has been a busy day. I’ll just say at the outset that, echoing I think what you heard the President say, we are very sad that Jay Carney will be leaving us. He’s been a tremendous friend and colleague to all of us who work here in the White House the last five years. I know he has very green pastures to return to, but we’re sorry that he is leaving us and won’t be on this upcoming trip. But we’ve enjoyed so much working with him, learning from him, and getting his perspective not just as a Press Secretary but as a former journalist and foreign correspondent himself.
With that, let me just go through some of the objectives for the President’s upcoming trip, and then his schedule. First of all, I think this trip to Europe comes at a very important time in the Transatlantic relationship as we seek to reaffirm our commitments to our European allies, deepen our cooperation with our European allies, and pursue an agenda that can shore up both the security and economic foundations of the Transatlantic partnership.
I think in terms of the issues that will be in play throughout the President’s trip, we generally will have a focus on our support for the people and government of Ukraine; our efforts to strengthen and modernize NATO; our work to diversify European energy security; and our negotiations around the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. So there’s a broad agenda for the President throughout the trip.
To go through his schedule, we will arrive in Warsaw on Tuesday morning. He will meet President Komorowski at the airport, and then President Obama and President Komorowski will have the opportunity to meet with some of the American and Polish airmen who are supporting our aviation mission that is based at Lask Air Force Base in Poland. This was an additional step the United States took in providing F-16s and an aviation detachment to Poland as part of our effort to reassure our European and particularly Eastern European allies in the aftermath of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. So the two leaders will have a chance to thank some of the personnel involved in that effort.
Following that event the President will have a bilateral meeting at the Belweder Place with President Komorowski. The U.S.-Polish alliance is critical to the Transatlantic relationship generally and is a foundation of America’s support for not just the Polish people but Eastern European allies generally. And the leaders will have an opportunity to discuss the situation in Ukraine, NATO, and energy, and the broader U.S.-Polish relationship.
Later in the afternoon, the President will have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Tusk, where he’ll continue that discussion rooted in the bilateral relationship. Then the United States and Poland will host a meeting of our broader Eastern and Central European allies. The President has done this on a couple of occasions earlier in his presidency. And given the focus on reassuring and consulting with our Central and Eastern European allies, we determined with the Poles that it would be good to host this meeting in Warsaw. This will include the United States and Poland, as well as Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and of course, the United States and Poland are co-hosting that meeting. So they will also review the agenda that I spoke of earlier.
That evening the President will attend a Solidarity Dinner at the royal palace. Of course, we are visiting Poland on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Solidarity — well, the first partially free election in Poland’s history that grew out of the courage and heroism of the Solidarity movement. So the President will have an opportunity to meet with the leaders and other attendees at that Solidarity Dinner where I know the Polish government is paying tribute to people who have played a critical role in advancing democracy and human rights.
On Wednesday morning the President will hold a bilateral meeting with President-elect Poroshenko of Ukraine. This is an important time for President Obama to affirm directly to President-elect Poroshenko our commitment to the people of Ukraine. We have a broad agenda to work with them; to stabilize the economy; to provide significant assistance as they seek to reestablish stability and growth within Ukraine; and also, of course, to support their efforts to reduce tensions to pursue dialogue and unity within Ukraine; and also to work with the European allies, with Russia, and above all with the government of Ukraine to facilitate dialogue to reduce the tensions within Ukraine.
Again, we very much admired that the people of Ukraine have turned out in huge numbers to elect President-elect Poroshenko. We’ve admired his commitment to pursue dialogue and to aim to reduce tensions and put Ukraine on a positive path. And in these days before his inauguration, this will be an important time for the President to check in directly and review his agenda.
Following that bilateral meeting, the President will go to the Royal Castle, where he will meet with other leaders attending the Freedom Day event. At the Royal Castle, the President will be one of the speakers who will give the speech commemorating the Day of Freedom. In his speech, I think he’ll have an opportunity to speak about the history of the democratic movement within Poland, its resonance beyond Poland’s borders, and its connections to many of the movements for democracy and human rights in Eastern Europe and around the world.
He’ll also have a chance to reaffirm America’s unwavering commitment to secure democracy and to the security of our Eastern European allies, recognizing that Poland, as much as any nation, understands that democracy is something that needs to be constantly defended and constantly advanced. And so it will be a resonant opportunity for him to speak to the people of Poland about our commitment to their security and their democracy.
After that event, the President will fly to Brussels. He will travel to the Royal Palace and have a meeting with King Philippe. Then he will attend the G7 summit. And, as you know, we made the decision to host the Summit in Brussels after suspending Russian participation and moving the summit, of course, from Sochi to Brussels.
That night, the leaders will have a dinner — a working dinner together. The focus will be on foreign policy issues, and certainly Ukraine will be a focus of the discussion that night.
On Thursday, the President will attend G7 meetings on the global economy, and energy and climate issues. The energy piece will build on the energy ministerial that took place that did discuss how to move forward on energy diversification and cooperation among G7 countries and the United States and Europe broadly.
Following that, there will be a working lunch on development issues. In the afternoon, after the G7 Summit is concluded, the President will have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom. Then the President will travel to Paris. That night in Paris, he will have a private dinner with President Hollande before spending the night in Paris.
On Friday, the President will travel to Normandy. This, of course, is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, an opportunity for the President to pay tribute to our veterans who served in D-Day and then World War II more broadly. And he’ll speak to their extraordinary service. He’ll also connect, of course, their extraordinary service to what we’ve seen from the 9/11 generation, who have similarly stood up to serve in a time of war, and done so with great bravery and patriotism.
The President will deliver remarks at Omaha Beach for a French-American commemoration, D-Day ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery Memorial. And then in the afternoon, the President will travel to Sword Beach, where he will attend a lunch hosted by President Hollande with the other leaders that the French have invited for the 70th anniversary commemorations. And then he will attend the international ceremony that the French are hosting with all the leaders of the various belligerent countries in World War II.
After that, the President will depart France and come home to Washington, D.C. on Friday night.
President Obama returns to Europe in early June to meet with allies in Poland, Belgium, and France.
Obama will celebrate Polish independence, meet with the leaders of the Group of Seven nations, and commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France, during the trip.
In Warsaw, Obama will honor the Polish Day of Freedom, marking the 25th anniversary of that nation’s rejection of communist rule.
On June 4-5, Obama will be in Brussels for a G-7 summit with the leaders of the Great Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Japan, and Germany. The leaders organized this meeting after canceling a G-8 summit scheduled for Russia because of its incursion into Ukraine.
“The (G-7) leaders will discuss their broad shared economic, security and development agenda, and follow up on their March 24th discussion in The Hague on the situation in Ukraine,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
The president will also attend a June 6 commemoration of D-Day on the beaches of France.
“The President greatly appreciates the sacrifices made by our veterans and their families, and he looks forward to honoring them, along with the contributions of all the allies,” Carney said.
President Barack Obama will visit Poland, Belgium and France during a trip to Europe in June.
That’s according to Vice President Joe Biden. He’s announcing Obama’s itinerary during a speech to the Atlantic Council in Washington.
Biden says Obama will visit Poland for the 25th anniversary of the first democratic elections there.
Obama will also travel to Brussels for consultations with the Group of 7 leaders. That meeting was originally scheduled to take place in Sochi, Russia, under the Group of 8 banner, but was scrapped as G-7 leaders sought to isolate Russia for annexing Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
Biden says Obama will also travel to France for the June 6 ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy.