United States President Barak Obama, European Union president Herman Van Rompuy and EU leaders meet for their first summit of the post-Lisbon Treaty period. The leaders are of like mind about China, but might not see eye-to-eye during the austerity-vs-spending discussion. Obama could walk into lingering resentment for trying to spend the US way out of recession -- the global recession is often blamed on the United States -- and will be arguing with a weaker hand after the Nov 2 US election.
The European Union and United States have been pressuring China, now the second-largest economy in the world after the United States, to allow its currency to appreciate. The Western leaders argue that Beijing has kept its currency artificially low to boost exports. The Nov 2 mid-term election left President Obama with a reduced support in the US Senate and little or none in the House of Representatives after the opposition Republicans made substantial gains in both houses in the election. The losses by his Democratic Party means he could be unable to deliver on anything he promises in Lisbon. ; One of the loudest voices in the austerity vs. spending debate is Germany, a proponent of austerity that has seen gratifying growth in its economy from its policy. In the United States, high unemployment and a historic housing slump just won't go away. In contrast to Europe, where Germany's growth is propelling the eurozone, the US situation looks ever bleaker. (LAST UPDATED Aug 2010)
Date written/update: 2010-11-20